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Darwin Unhinged: The Bugs in Evolution
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This is atrociously long, criminally even, by internet standards but I post it anyway because I get occasional requests. Few will read it, which is understandable. Apologies. The Devil made me do it. Regular readers, if there is one, will have seen most of it before since in large part it is a gluing together of several columns.

“A scientist is part of what the Polish philosopher of science Ludwik Fleck called a “thought collective”: a group of people exchanging ideas in a mutually comprehensible idiom. The group, suggested Fleck, inevitably develops a mind of its own, as the individuals in it converge on a way of communicating, thinking and feeling.

This makes scientific inquiry prone to the eternal rules of human social life: deference to the charismatic, herding towards majority opinion, punishment for deviance, and intense discomfort with admitting to error. Of course, such tendencies are precisely what the scientific method was invented to correct for, and over the long run, it does a good job of it. In the long run, however, we’re all dead, quite possibly sooner than we would be if we hadn’t been following a diet based on poor advice.”

How the following Came About

I was in high school when I began to think about evolution. I was then just discovering the sciences systematically, and took them as what they offered themselves to be, a realm of reason and dispassionate regard for truth. There was a hard-edged clarity to them that I liked. You got real answers. Since evolution depended on such sciences as chemistry, I regarded it as also being a science.

The question of the origin of life interested me. The evolutionary explanations that I encountered in textbooks of biology seemed weak, however. They ran to, “In primeval seas, evaporation concentrated dissolved compounds in a pore in a rock, a membrane formed, and life began its immense journey.” Still, I saw no reason to doubt this. If it hadn’t been true, scientists would not have said that it was.

Remember, I was fifteen.

In those days I read Scientific American and New Scientist, the latter then still being thoughtfully written in good English. I noticed that not infrequently they offered differing speculations as to the origin of life. The belief in the instrumentality of chemical accident was constant, but the nature of the primeval soup changed to fit varying attempts at explanation.

For a while, life was thought to have come about on clay in shallow water in seas of a particular composition, later in tidal pools with another chemical solution, then in the open ocean in another solution. This continues. Recently, geothermal vents have been offered as the home of the first life. Today (Feb 24, 2005) on the BBC website, I learn that life evolved below the oceanic floor. (“There is evidence that life evolved in the deep sediments,” co-author John Parkes, of Cardiff University, UK, told the BBC News website.”)

The frequent shifting of ground bothered me. If we knew how life began, why did we have so many prospective mechanisms, none of which worked? Evolution began to look like a theory in search of a soup. Fifty-five years later in 2015, it still does.

What Distinguishes Evolution from Other Sciences

Early on, I noticed three things about evolution that differentiated it from other sciences (or, I could almost say, from science). First, plausibility was accepted as being equivalent to evidence. And of course the less you know, the greater the number of things that are plausible, because there are fewer facts to get in the way. Again and again evolutionists assumed that suggesting how something might have happened was equivalent to establishing how it had happened. Asking them for evidence usually aroused annoyance and sometimes, if persisted in, hostility.

As an example, consider the view that life arose by chemical misadventure. By this they mean, I think, that they cannot imagine how else it might have come about. (Neither can I. Does one accept a poor explanation because unable to think of a good one?) This accidental-life theory, being somewhat plausible, is therefore accepted without the usual standards of science, such as reproducibility or rigorous demonstration of mathematical feasibility. Putting it otherwise, evolutionists are too attached to their ideas to be able to question them.

Or to notice that others do question, and with reason. They defend furiously the evolution of life in earth’s seas as the most certain of certainties. Yet in the November, 2005 Scientific American, an article argues that life may have begun elsewhere, perhaps on Mars, and arrived here on meteorites. May have, perhaps, might. Somewhere, somewhere else, anywhere. Onward into the fog.

Consequently, discussion often relies on vague and murky assertion, or ignores obvious questions. Starlings are said to have evolved to be the color of dirt so that hawks can’t see them to eat them. This is plausible and, I suspect, true. But guacamayos and cockatoos are gaudy enough to be seen from low-earth orbit. Is there a contradiction here? No, say evolutionists. Guacamayos are gaudy so they can find each other to mate. Always there is the pat explanation. But starlings seem to mate with great success, though invisible. If you have heard a guacamayo shriek, you can hardly doubt that another one could easily find it. Enthusiasts of evolution then told me that guacamayos were at the top of their food chain, and didn’t have predators. Or else that the predators were colorblind.

On and on it goes. On any coral reef, a scuba diver can see, or rather not see, phenomenally good camouflage in creatures such as octopuses, said to prevent their being eaten. It does. But many fish are garishly colored. What is the advantage?

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Second, evolution seemed more a metaphysics or ideology than a science. The sciences, as I knew them, gave clear answers. Evolution involved intense faith in fuzzy principles. You demonstrated chemistry, but believed evolution. If you have ever debated a Marxist, or a serious liberal or conservative, or a feminist or Christian, you will have noticed that, although they can be exceedingly bright and well informed, they display a maddening evasiveness. You never get a straight answer if it is one they do not want to give. Crucial premises are not firmly established. Fundamental assertions do not tie to observable reality. Invariably the Marxist (or evolutionist) assumes that a detailed knowledge of economic conditions in the reign of Nicholas II substitutes for being able to answer simple questions, such as why Marxism has never worked. This is the Fallacy of Irrelevant Knowledge. And of course almost anything can be made believable by considering only favorable evidence and interpreting hard.

Third, evolutionists are obsessed by Christianity and Creationism, with which they imagine themselves to be in mortal combat. This is peculiar to them. Note that other sciences, such as astronomy and geology, even archaeology, are equally threatened by the notion that the world was created in 4004 BC. Astronomers pay not the slightest attention to Creationist ideas. Nobody does—except evolutionists. We are dealing with competing religions—overarching explanations of origin and destiny. Thus the fury of their response to skepticism.

I found it pointless to tell them that I wasn’t a Creationist. They refused to believe it. If they had, they would have had to answer questions that they would rather avoid. Like any zealots, they cannot recognize their own zealotry. Thus their constant classification of skeptics as enemies (a word they often use)—of truth, of science, of Darwin, of progress.

This tactical demonization is not unique to evolution. “Creationist” is to evolution what “racist” is to politics: A way of preventing discussion of what you do not want to discuss. Evolution is the political correctness of science.

The Lair of the Beast

I have been on several lists on the internet that deal with matters such as evolution, have written on the subject, and have discussed evolution with various of its adherents. These men (almost all of them are) have frequently been very bright indeed, often Ivy League professors, some of them with names you would recognize. They are not amateurs of evolution, or high-school principals in Kansas eager to prove their modernity. I asked them questions, such as whether we really know what the primeval seas consisted of, etc. I knew the answers; I wanted to see how serious proponents of evolutionary biology would respond to awkward questions.

It was like giving a bobcat a prostate exam. I got everything but answers. They told me I was a crank, implied over and over (again) that I was a Creationist, said that I was an enemy of science (someone who asks for evidence is an enemy of science). They said that I was trying to pull down modern biology (if you ask questions about an aspect of biology, you want to pull down biology). They told me I didn’t know anything (that’s why I was asking questions), and that I was a mere journalist (the validity of a question depends on its source rather than its content).

But they didn’t answer the questions. They ducked and dodged and evaded. After thirty years in journalism, I know ducking and dodging when I see it. It was like cross-examining hostile witnesses.

This is the behavior not of scientists, but of advocates, of True Believers. I used to think that science was about asking questions, not about defending things you didn’t really know. Religion, I thought, was the other way around. I guess I was wrong.

A Preamble

The intent of this essay is not to debate with the ardent of evolutionism. To do so would be pointless. The problem is one of underlying set of mind, of why people believe and disbelieve things. The greatest intellectual divide is not between those who believe one thing and those who believe another, but between those who have an emotional need to believe something fervently and those who can say, “I don’t know.” The former group comprises those tedious Darwinists and Creationists who hurl imprecations at each other like fans of rival football teams. Each blockheadedly refuses to concede the slightest possibility that its doctrine might be other than infallible. To my mind they constitute the best evidence that we did not descend from monkeys, but have not yet ascended to them. Stupidity beyond a certain point is intractable.

I write here for those who can look at the world with curiosity and calm, divining what can be divined and conceding what cannot, without regarding themselves as members of warring tribes. To judge by the writing on evolution in the public prints, there may be as many as three of these.

On Arrogance

“The universe is not only queerer than we suppose, it is queerer than we can suppose.” J. B. S. Haldane

“Queer”: Exactly the right word, suggesting more the world of Alice in Wonderland than the crisp, clean-edged, perfectly ordered and causal world of physics. This paradigm holds that existence is like a vast crossword puzzle. Some parts we have filled in, others we have not, but by its nature the puzzle is solvable, and it is only a matter of time before we know everything. This is awfully optimistic.

Humans today are a puffed-up and overconfident species. We believe that we know everything, or shortly will. We have a sense of near-omniscience equaled only by that of teenagers. For do we not have have smart phones and Mars landers and PET scans, and do we not all speak wisely of DNA? We are, if not gods, at least godlings on the way up. If you don’t believe this, just ask us.

It was not always so. A thousand years ago, mankind cast a small shadow on the earth and lived in a dark and mysterious world. Little was known, about anything. Gods of countless sorts walked the earth. Spirits inhabited sacred groves. Lightning, the moon, the stars were…what? We had no idea. This brought humility.

We now believe that nothing is or can be beyond our powers. A contemplative skeptic might advert to a few remaining details: We don’t know where we came from, why we are here, where “here” is, where we are going if anywhere, or what we ought to do. These are minor questions. We only think about them when we wake up at three a.m. and remember that we are not permanent. We are kidding ourselves.

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When people become accustomed to things that make no sense, they begin to seem to. Though we no longer notice it as we peck at tablet computers and listen to droning lowbrow shows about the conquest of nature, we still live in a weird and inexplicable universe, an apparently unending emptiness speckled with sparks of hydrogen fire. It is wicked mysterious. More things in heaven and earth, indeed.

We are not as wise as we think. We are just smarter than anything else we know about. I reiterate Fred’s Principle: The smartest of a large number of hamsters is still a hamster.

Where Evolution Fits In

The Theory of Evolution is not just about biological evolution. It is part of a grand unified theory that seeks to explain everything (except things that it can’t explain, which it ignores). It runs briefly as follows: First came the Big Bang. Subatomic particles flew in all directions, coalesced into atoms and into molecules and stars. Planets formed, then oceans, and then life came about by chemical inadvertence. Evolution produced trilobites, dinosaurs, mammals, and us. In the popular version, though not in the scientific, evolution produces ongoing betterment.

It is not particularly plausible. As someone said, evolution writ large is the belief that a large cloud of hydrogen will eventually turn into Manhattan. But, like a religion, it provides an overarching explanation of origins–the Big Bang–and destiny–we are getting better and better–and gives us a sense of understanding the world.

In this it serves the purposes of a religion and is treated as such by its adherents. They react to questioning with anger and they see their hated opponents as Creationists–that is, adherents of another religion. Note that while in the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925, Christian fundamentalists tried to outlaw Darwin, today evolutionists appeal to the courts to outlaw mention of Creation in the schools. This is not rational. Can anyone believe that describing Creation in high schools will deter students from studying biochemistry, and turn them into intellectual loin-cloth wearers burning textbooks?

Interestingly, atheism has to be part of the evolutionist’s mental equipment since if any sort of god exists, or if there is life after death, or anything beyond the laws of physics, then these things might influence existence in a way outside of physics–and this cannot be allowed.

Before going further, let us look at some of the questions ignored by evolutionism.

In Evolution Writ Large nothing exists but physics. The Big Bang was physics, chemistry is the physics of the interactions of atoms, biochemistry a subset of chemistry and therefore also physics. Everything that happens in a cell is physics (to include biochemistry). Everything that happens in a living body, from movement to thought, is physics. Mutations are physical events. The behavior of DNA follows the laws of physics.

Note that biological evolution is always regarded as an indivisible entity, yet in fact it consists of several distinct components that are logically separable. First, that life came about accidentally in the ancient seas (highly shaky and certainly not demonstrated). Second, that evolution occurred (as the fossil record would seem to show beyond reasonable doubt). Third, that natural selection drove evolution (demonstrable in some cases, plausible in a great many, and highly unlikely in yet others). Fourth, that random mutations drive natural selection (very shaky, but crucial to evolutionism). Fifth, that nothing else drives it.

The unwillingness to recognize that these are separable leads to a tendency to believe that when one of them can be demonstrated–natural selection, say–it is regarded as confirmation of the whole edifice. It isn’t.

An Embarrassing Necessity Before Getting to the Meat of Things

Inevitably one who writes of evolution without being a PhD at CalTech is assaulted on grounds that he must be ignorant of practically everything. I claim to be an expert on nothing. However, I subscribe to the principle that most problems can be solved by the application of modest intelligence and obsessive-compulsive disorder. A fact forgotten today is that one can learn things by reading books. By doing so I have learned enough to talk about at least a few things, such as:

Basophils, eosinophils, neutrophils. Descemet’s membrane, ciliary body, suspensory ligaments, retinal pigmented epithelium (the eye being of evolutionary interest). Peptide pituitary hormones, vasopressin and oxytocin. Osteoclast, osteoblast. Nephrons, glomerulus, Loop of Henle. Axon, dendrite, sodium in-potassium-out depolarization, neurotransmitters, receptor sites. Rough and smooth endoplasmic reticula, Golgi apparatus, lipid bilayers, hydrophobic and hydrophilic tails, lysosomes, ribosomes, epitopes, m-RNA, t-RNA, transcription, translation. Restriction enzymes, DNA polymerase. The Breeder’s Equation, selection differential, pleiotrophy, epistasis, narrow heritability.Purines adenine and guanine and pyrimidines cytocine and thymine (well, uracil in RNA). Degeneracy of the codon alphabet. Nucleotides, nucleosides, adenosine triphosphate, indels, mitochondrial cristae, single-nucleotide polymorphisms, polymerase chain reaction, restriction-fragment length polymorphism, electrophoresis. Luciferin, (and Luciferout?) luciferase, ATP. X chromosomal and mitochondrial DNA. Peptide bonds COOH to NH 2, water molecule extruded. Socially important compounds like 2, 4, 6- trinitrotoluene, toluene being benzene with a CH 3 group, bond resonance in benzene, pH, the negative log of the hydronium ion content. Levo- and dextro- isomers. Alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, al gore. Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, Permian. Purported transitional forms: The Ichthyostegids of, if memory serves, upper Permian sediments of eastern Greenland; Archaeopteryx, Bavaria 1861; coelacanth, Marjorie Latimer, sort of 1937 I think; and my favorite, Piltdown Man. The amniote egg. Saurischian and Ornothiscian dinosaurs. Sauropods, pseudopods, copepods. Etc.

Eyeing the Argument from Time

A matter that needs to be gotten out of the way before continuing is the insistence that, given billions of years–more accurately, about four billion–life had to from just because of all that time. This is by no means clear. In questions of the probability of complex events, time can mean surprisingly little. Consider the assertion famously made by James Jeans, often cited in connection with evolution, that a monkey typing randomly at a keyboard would eventually write all the books in the British Museum. This sounds plausible and, in a purely mathematical sense, is true. What are the odds?

Consider a fair-sized book of 200,000 words that, by newspaper average, would contain about a million letters. To make it easy on the monkey, we will ignore upper case and punctuation and let him work with an alphabet of 26 letters. What are his prospects of getting the book in a given string of a million letters?

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The chance of getting the first letter correctly is 1/26 times the chance of getting the second letter, 1/26, and so on, making the chance of getting the entire book 1/261,000,000. Since 26 equals 10log 26, (log 26 being about 1.41) the chance of getting the entire book is 1 in 10log 26 x 1000,000 or about 101,400,000. Innocent looking numbers like this are remarkably intractable. For example, a billion billion monkeys (more monkeys than Iwant) typing a billion billion characters a second for a billion billion times the estimated age of the universe (1018 seconds ) would have essentially zero chance of getting the book.

To give our monkey a fighting chance, let’s ask whether he would get even the title of a book, for example On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, which Microsoft Word tells me contains 119 characters. The monkey’s chance of getting the title in a give string of 119 is one in 10119 x x 1.41 or 10168 Thus our billion billion monkey at a billion billion characters a second for the life of the universe is essentially zero.

Is the chance of accidentally forming a living Crittter a similar problem? We don’t know, especially since evolutionists cannot tell us what the First Critter was. But it is their responsibility to tell us, first, what of what complexity formed and, second, why the odds are not astronomically against it. The point to take away is that the invocation of long periods of time can mean little when speaking of the probability of complex yet unspecified events.

A Few Early Questions

(1) Life was said to have begun by chemical inadvertence in the early seas. Did we, I wondered, really know of what those early seas consisted? Know, not suspect, hope, theorize, divine, speculate, or really, really wish. Bear in mind that chemical reactions depend crucially on molarity, pH, temperature, half-life of intermediates, and so on.

The answer is, “no.” We have no dried residue, no remaining pools, and the science of planetogenesis isn’t nearly good enough to provide a quantitative analysis.

2) Do we know what conditions would be necessary for a cell to come about? No, we don’t.

(3) Has the creation of a living cell been replicated in the laboratory? No, it has not. Here the evolutionist will say, “But, Fred, how can you repeat in the laboratory something that took millions and millions of years and billions and billions of gallons of sea water?” You can’t, but am I to believe it happened on the grounds that it can’t be proved?

(4) Could it be shown to be mathematically probable that a cell would form, given any soup whatever? No, it couldn’t, and can’t. (At least not without cooking the assumptions.)

(5) Have biochemists designed a replicating chemical entity that plausibly might have evolved into organisms such as we now have? No.

6) This next I ask, knowing that no answer is possible, to make a point: The more complex we postulate the First Critter to have been, the less likely that it would form accidentally. The less complex, the harder to explain why such a Critter has not been designed in the laboratory. With every passing year, the difficulty grows.

In sum: If we don’t know what conditions existed, or what conditions would be necessary, and can’t reproduce the event in the laboratory, and can’t show it to be statistically probable, and can’t construct something that might have evolved—why are we so very sure that it happened? Would you hang a man on such evidence?

A Surfeit of Soups

To see the desperation of the search for plausible beginnings of life, look at this list, from the Wikipedia, of the wildly differing hypotheses, guesses, theories, and lunges, none of which have worked out. Does it give you a sense that evolutionists know what they are talking about?

One hypothesis, as mentioned before, is that life swooped in from outer space on carbonaceous chondrites, or began on Mars (where it conspicuously has not been discovered by a platoon of itinerant Mars landers) and drifted to the earth. That is, life began where apparently there has never been life. The flexibility of evolutionary thinking is greatly to be admired.

Here a point worth making briefly: The press often excitedly reports that “organic compounds” have been found on meteorites, or comets, or interstellar space, or in bottles of chemicals through which an electric spark has been passed. The unfortunate name “organic” suggests origins in living creatures, or the likelihood of turning shortly into living creatures. Actually, “organic chemistry” is, roughly, the chemistry of carbon chains. No living origins nor living intentions are implied. DDT is an organic compound, as is 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene, TNT.

While evolutionists couldn’t demonstrate that life had begun by chemical accident, I can’t show that it did not. An inability to prove that something is statistically possible is not the same as proving that it is not statistically possible. Not being able to reproduce an event in the laboratory does not establish that it didn’t happen in nature. Etc. I didn’t know how life came about. I still don’t. Neither do evolutionists.

Impossibility Theory and Common Sense, If Any

If you look at evolution from other than the perspective of an ideological warrior who believes that he is saving the world from the claws of snake-handling primitive Christians in North Carolina, difficulties arise. Chief among these is the sheer complexity of things. Living organisms are just too complicated to have come about by accident. This, it seems to me, is apparent to, though not provable by, anyone with an open mind.

Everywhere in the living world one sees intricacy wrapped in intricacy wrapped in intricacy. At some point the sane have to say, “This didn’t just happen. Something is going on that I don’t understand.” But an evolutionist cannot say that there is anything he can’t understand, only that there are things he doesn’t yet understand.

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Read a textbook of embryology. You start with a barely-visible zygote which, (we are told) guided by nothing but the laws of chemistry, unerringly reacts with ambient chemicals to build, over nine months, an incomprehensibly complex thing we call “a baby.” Cells migrate here, migrate there, modify themselves or are modified to form multitudinous organs, each of them phenomenally complex, all of this happening chemically and flawlessly on autopilot. We are accustomed to this, and so think it makes sense. The usual always seems reasonable. I don’t think it is. It simply isn’t possible, being a wild frontal assault on Murphy’s Law.

Therefore babies do not exist. Quod erat demonstrandum. Unless Something Else is involved. I do not know what.

Complexity upon complexity. In virtually invisible cells you find endoplasmic reticula, Golgi apparatus, ribosomes, nuclear and messenger and transfer RNA, lysosomes, countless enzymes, complex mechanisms for transcribing and translating DNA, itself a complex and still-mysterious repository of information. Somehow this is all packed into almost nowhere. That this just sort of, well, you know, happened is too much to believe. It began being believed when almost nothing was known about the complexity of cellular biology, after which, being by then a sacred text, it could not be questioned. And cannot.

The foregoing is only the beginning of complexity. The many organs formed effortlessly in utero are as bafflingly elaborate as cells themselves. Consider (a simplified description of) the parts of the eye: The globe of three layers, sclera, choroid, and retina. Cornea of six layers, epithelium, Bowman’s membrane, substantia propria, Dua’s layer, Descemet’s membrane, endothelium. Retina of ten layers. Lens consisting of anterior and posterior capsule and contained proteinacious goop. The lens is held by delicate suspensory ligaments inside the ciliary body, a muscular doughnut that changes the shape of lens so as to focus. An iris of radial and circumferential fibers enervated competitively by the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems in opposition. A pump to circulate the aqueous humor. On and on and on. And equally on and on for all the other organs, which last for seventy years, repairing themselves when damaged.

Imposs--ligaments

Suspensory ligaments connecting the lens of the eye to the ciliary body. They form flawlessly on their own.

I can’t prove that this didn’t come about accidentally. Neither can I believe it.

The Details (Wherein Lurketh the Devil)

At every level, complexity mounts. The following simplified description of the biochemical functioning of the retina is from Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution by Michael Behe. The book, which I recommend, is accessible to the intelligent laymen, for whom it is written. The author includes the following technoglop to give a flavor of what is involved in vision. The sensible reader will skip through most of it.

When light first strikes the retina a photon interacts with a molecule called 11-cis-retinal, which rearranges within picoseconds to trans-retinal. (A picosecond is about the time it takes light to travel the breadth of a single human hair.) The change in the shape of the retinal molecule forces a change in the shape of the protein, rhodopsin, to which the retinal is tightly bound. The protein’s metamorphosis alters its behavior. Now called metarhodopsin II, the protein sticks to another protein, called transducin. Before bumping into metarhodopsin II, transducin had tightly bound a small molecule called GDP. But when transducin interacts with metarhodopsin II, the GDP falls off, and a molecule called GTP binds to transducin. (GTP is closely related to, but critically different from, GDP.)

GTP-transducin-metarhodopsin II now binds to a protein called phosphodiesterase, located in the inner membrane of the cell. When attached to metarhodopsin II and its entourage, the phosphodiesterase acquires the chemical ability to “cut” a molecule called cGMP (a chemical relative of both GDP and GTP). Initially there are a lot of cGMP molecules in the cell, but the phosphodiesterase lowers its concentration, just as a pulled plug lowers the water level in a bathtub. Another membrane protein that binds cGMP is called an ion channel. It acts as a gateway that regulates the number of sodium ions in the cell. Normally the ion channel allows sodium ions to flow into the cell, while a separate protein actively pumps them out again. The dual action of the ion channel and pump keeps the level of sodium ions in the cell within a narrow range. When the amount of cGMP is reduced because of cleavage by the phosphodiesterase, the ion channel closes, causing the cellular concentration of positively charged sodium ions to be reduced. This causes an imbalance of charge across the cell membrane that, finally, causes a current to be transmitted down the optic nerve to the brain. The result, when interpreted by the brain, is vision. If the reactions mentioned above were the only ones that operated in the cell, the supply of 11-cis-retinal, cGMP, and sodium ions would quickly be depleted. Something has to turn off the proteins that were turned on and restore the cell to its original state. Several mechanisms do this. First, in the dark the ion channel (in addition to sodium ions) also lets calcium ions into the cell. The calcium is pumped back out by a different protein so that a constant calcium concentration is maintained. When cGMP levels fall, shutting down the ion channel, calcium ion concentration decreases, too. The posphodiesterase enzyme, which destroys cGMP, slows down at lower calcium concentration. Second, a protein called guanylate cyclase begins to resynthesize cGMP when calcium levels start to fall. Third, while all of this is going on, metarhodopsin II is chemically modified by an enzyme called rhodopsin kinase. The modified rhodopsin then binds to a protein known as arrestin, which prevents the rhodopsin from activating more transducin. So the cell contains mechanisms to limit the amplified signal started by a single photon. Trans-retinal eventually falls off of rhodopsin and must be reconverted to 11-cis-retinal and again bound by rhodopsin to get back to the starting point for another visual cycle. To accomplish this, trans-retinal is first chemically modified by an enzyme to trans-retinol— a form containing two more hydrogen atoms. A second enzyme then converts the molecule to 11-cis-retinol. Finally, a third enzyme removes the previously added hydrogen atoms to form 11-cis-retinal, a cycle is complete.

I can perhaps imagine an Airbus 380 assembling itself. I cannot begin to imagine the foregoing evolving on its own. Or working flawlessly for more than a millisecond.

Worse Than Intelligent Design: Layers of Impossibility

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If in an unexplored region of the Amazon Basin you find a grass hut next to a dugout canoe, you may not know who made them, but you suppose that someone must have. This is the theory of Intelligent Design. When you find in nature systems of unfathomable complexity that nonetheless work flawlessly, it is not unreasonable to suspect that they were designed, and perhaps sustained, by someone, or something. I have no idea who or what or why.

Equally mysterious—equally impossible, I would say—is how biological systems can function at all, no matter how they came into being. The workings of every detail of, say, a human body can indeed be explained mechanistically, in terms of chemistry and physics, and this is the result that comes out of experimentation. In the laboratory you can show, or seem to show, that enzyme A binds to enzyme B, activating enzyme C and allowing enzyme D to do whatever enzyme D does. (You can show that a massive federal program makes sense in detail. But does it work in practice?)

But to believe that 180 pounds of infinitely complex, interacting chemical reactions (me, for example) can go on for seventy years without utter collapse requires powers of belief beyond the wildest imaginings of religious faith. The whole is less possible than the sum of its parts. Something is going on that we do not understand.

Domain Bloat

Consider a plane geometer. He deals with a limited domain of planes, lines, points, and angles, and nothing else. These produce elegant mathematics and useful results. He cannot deal with volumes, momentum, or tailgate parties, because these cannot be derived from the elements of his domain. They are beyond the scope of his subject.

The domain of the sciences is physics, its elements being space, time, matter, and energy, however hyphenated. Everything in science ultimately reduces to physics. Evolution is the physics of interactions of biochemical systems with their physical environment over time, and thus also is a subset of physics. Nothing can happen in evolution that does not derive from and follow the laws of physics.

Just as a baseball game cannot be derived from or be explained by plane geometry, which does not contain matter, energy, time, or space of three dimensions, neither can such things as thought, consciousness, morality, volition, or exaltation be explained by physics. The desire to strangle your mother-in-law does not fall out of the equations of motion. When evolutionists try to explain behavior such as altruism in terms of physics (which is what they are doing, though most of them don’t know it) they are like a plane geometer trying to explain a cheeseburger in terms of lines and angles in a plane. It can’t be done. The trouble with the sciences (though not with all scientists) is exactly this, that they try to explain within the domain of physics things that are outside of its purview.

Studying Us: Explaining the Explainers

The sciences get into particular difficulties when they try to explain the explainer, which is to say us. Consider the brain which, we are told, is just an electrochemical machine. Everything that happens in the brain, we are told, follows the laws of chemistry and physics.

And this certainly seems to be the case. For example, neurotransmitters diffuse across the synaptic gap: pure chemistry and physics. They bind to receptors on the other side: pure chemistry and physics. Enzymes like acetylcholinesterase clear the residue from the gap: pure chemistry and physics. The resulting nervous impulse sails down the distal fiber as it depolarizes, sodium in, potassium out: pure chemistry and physics. It is as mechanical as a 1901 typewriter.

Which means that the brain cannot, and thus we cannot, make choices. Physical systems cannot choose what to do. A bowling ball dropped from the top of the Washington Monument cannot decide to fall up, or sideways, instead of down, nor choose how fast to fall, nor how far. Similarly, the end point of a physical system is determined by starting conditions. A molecule of a neurotransmitter binds ineluctably to a receptor because of stereochemistry and charge. It cannot not bind.

It follows then that we cannot choose one action over another. Our thoughts are predetermined by the physicochemical states of our brains. We think what we think because it is physically impossible to think anything else. Thus we cannot think at all. QED.

Unless Something Else is going on. I don’t know what.

Paradox is a consequence of domain bloat. Descartes famously said, “Cogito ergo sum.” Ambrose Bierce less famously but more insightfully said, “Cogito cogito, ergo cogito sum. Cogito.”

Survival of the Survivors

Most people think that, “fitness” meaning “suitability for a purpose,” survival of the fittest means that the smarter, stronger, and faster survive and produce more offspring than the stupid, weak, and slow. It does not. The study of such things is called population genetics and, as a professor of it says, “In population genetics, fitness means the rate of successful reproduction, nothing else.” That is, fitness does not promote survival, but is survival. The circularity is well known: Why do they survive? Because they are fit. How do you know that they are fit? Because they survive.

If fitness means the rate of successful reproduction, we encounter the interesting conclusion that a woman with a genetic IQ of sixty and twelve retarded children by forty-five drive-by fathers is more fit than a Harvard math professor who runs Triathlons but has two children.

If instead of “fitness” with its almost inescapable overtones of “superiority,” we used “reproduction rate,” clarity would follow. Perish forbid.

A staple of evolutionism is that evolution works to maximize the number of offspring, thus passing on successful genes. This is plausible but, in the case of us, counter to observation (but why let facts debilitate a perfectly good theory?) The populations of advanced countries, all of which could easily support larger numbers of people, are actually falling. For example, Japan, Spain, Italy, Germany, and Russia. In Mexico, as the standard of living rises, the birth rate falls sharply. How one passes on one’s genes by not passing them on is a mystery of population genetics.

Meanwhile the populations of black Africa, the civilizational equivalents of the unwed mother with an IQ of 60, grow rapidly. Which is to say that in advanced countries, reproduction of individuals is inversely proportional to circumstances favoring it–intelligence health, wealth, and education. Among nations, as noted, a similar phenomenon exists.

When this is pointed out, evolutionists hem and haw (or should I say hem and her?), sometimes say that evolution no longer applies to humans, (though they simultaneously insist that evolution is ongoing and rapid) and then often blame falling populations on contraception, as if this were an outside force, like drought or a new predator. But saying that contraception causes falling populations ls like saying that spears cause hunting. People wanted to eat, so they invented spears. They wanted not to have children, so they invented contraception. Not passing on one’s genes is now almost a preoccupation.

Another peculiarity is populational altruism. Countries with declining populations intentionally import inferior but more-fecund genetic groups. Sweden for example imports black Africans. In the United States, the white population feeds and clothes huge number of genetically utterly distinct blacks, and actually seems to be growing them. The Darwinian advantage of this is elusive.

Current Human Evolution

Evolutionists insist that human evolution continues today at a rapid pace. There is nothing illogical in this to the extent that it is a matter of selective breeding and that evolution is defined as a change in phenotype. In some cases it can be shown to happen.

Consider for example cognitive stratification, in which very smart people tend to go to Ivy universities, marry each other, and produce smart children. The children will tend to revert toward the mean but, as they interbreed, the mean will rise. Thus a fairly distinct subpopulation comes about.

While such things certainly can occur, problems arise in the evolutionists’ casual attribution of traits to evolutionary change. The first is that “selective pressure” usually cannot be measured and cannot be correlated with its purported results. Traits are regularly attributed to genes that have not been demonstrated acted upon by selective pressures that cannot be quantified to produce results that cannot be correlated with the pressures. The second is that results often seem to be inversely related to what would seem to be obvious selective advantage.

Often it seems that evolution is driven less by selective pressure than by the absence of selective pressure. Before the advent of modern medicine, people with inferior genetic endowments– low resistance to disease, or possession of genetic diseases such as diabetes, serious retardation, etc.–tended to die before reproducing. This selective pressure served to keep those diseases at a low level in the population. Today the defective are kept alive to reproductive age, have children, and thus rapidly increase the prevalence of those diseases in the population.

There is the curious fact that traits of very little obvious value flourish, while those seemingly important do not. Consider the epicanthic fold, which makes the Japanese and Chinese slant-eyed. Evolutionists I have read assert alternately that the fold serves to conserve energy or to protect the eye against icy winds, thus furthering survival. Characteristically, they cite no studies demonstrating that the fold does either of these things: In evolution, plausibility substitutes for evidence. The fold has become universal in the populations, suggesting that powerful selective pressures must have been responsible.

But what pressures? Do we really believe that the fold provides enough protection to the eye, if it provides any at all, to result in its possessor having more children than others? Do foldless Vikings go blind? Where is the evolutionary noise level? At what point is the selective advantage, if any, so slight as to make no difference?

Which brings us to a baffling question. Why does a trait with very little or no reproductive value–the fold–become universal, when traits such as high intelligence, great physical prowess, astonishing eyesight, and so on not become even common? The genes for all of these already exist in the population without the need for mutations.

If traits that conduce to reproduction become evermore prevalent, it follows that traits that do not become prevalent do not conduce to reproduction. These would seem to include the aforementioned–intelligence, strength, and so on–as these seem no more common now than in c classical antiquity.

If human evolution continues today at a rapid pace as evolutionists say (and indeed it may) it follows that selective pressures must be fairly intense. It is reasonable to ask, what pressures to what end? Cognitive stratification–the self-selection of people with IQs of perhaps 130 and up–qualifies and may lead to a blurry-edged yet distinct subpopulation.

Yet pressures would otherwise seem to be low now. In modern human populations, in which almost no one dies in infancy, almost everyone marries, and almost everyone has the same small number of children, the number of offspring is not determined by life-or-death selection. The football captain gets the prom queen, but the class nerd gets the nerdette and can have as many children. Almost everyone lives past reproductive age, so there is little culling effect as the slow are eaten by wolves. The genetically sickly are kept alive and allowed to reproduce by medicine. Consequently it is hard to image Darwinian selection occurring with much ferocity.

Nor can I see evidence for more than minor changes in the 2500 years since Fifth-Century Athens. Statues by Phidias and Praxiteles and later Roman copies show people exactly like us. It is impossible to give IQ tests to the long dead, but Plato and Archimedes seem very like the best minds of today, and the writing of such as Xenophon are indistinguishable in complexity, clarity, and quality of mind from good modern writers. Nothing suggests that the ancients were any less athletic, bellicose, or agile than we are, or that they had senses any less acute. The 2500 years of rapid evolution appear to have produce a net of zero.

The Bugs in Darwin

A Thing is Not Possible Merely Because It Happens: The Tarantula Hawk

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It is easy to imagine how a complex system, once in existence, can, within limits, evolve under the influence of selective pressures. Any dog breeder can demonstrate this. Or think of the path from Eohippus to Clydesdale. The difficulty lies in knowing how the system came about in the first place.

Consider the Tarantula Hawk, a gigantic wasp that begins life as an egg inside a paralyzed and buried tarantula, where its mother put it. This may seem unmotherly, but there is no accounting for taste. The egg hatches. The larva feeds on the spider, somehow knowing how to avoid the vital organs so as to keep the monster alive and fresh. It pupates and then, a new adult, digs its way out of the burrow.

Off it flies. Never having seen another wasp, or anything else, it finds one, and knows how to mate. (Mating, if you think about it, is a rather more complex process than it may seem to high-schoolers. Some insects mate while flying, which compounds the trickiness. Think airline pilots and stewardesses.) Never having seen a tarantula, it knows how to find one, knows that it needs to attack it, knows exactly how to sting it, knows that it must drag it to its burrow, which it knows it has to dig, knows how to lay its egg on the tarantula and how to bury it.

Now, some of this may be imagined as evolving by gradual steps (emphasis on “imagined,” which in matters evolutionary is good enough) as required by Darwin. All it takes is enough time. In enough time, anything desired will happen. Of millions and billions of eggs deposited in unfortunate tarantulas, over millions of years, some larvae ate the spider’s vital organs and so died in a rotting spider, not passing on their genes. Others pupated but tried to dig out by going downwards or sideways, thus dying and not passing on their genes. Only those with don’t-eat-the-important-parts mutations and this-way-is-up mutations survived, and so their genes became universal. This we are told.

But…but knowing what a tarantula looks like when you have never seen one, or seen anything, knowing that you need to sting it and just how, that you need to dig a burrow and drag the spider to it, and cover it up, when all of this has to occur in order or the whole process fails….

You have to be smoking Drano.

The Bot Flyc

The Bot fly is a squat, ugly, hairy fly that (in one version anyway) catches a mosquito, lays its eggs on on said mosquito after positioning it correctly, and attaches them with a kind of glue. It releases the mosquito. When the little feathery syringe lands on, say, a human, the eggs drop off, hatch, and burrow into the host. These make nasty raised lumps with something wiggling inside them. Later the larvae exit, fall to the ground, and pupate.

How did this evolve? Did a grab-a-mosquito gene occur as a random mutation (assuming that a single mutation could cause such complex behavior)? It would have to be a grab-a-mosquito-but-don’t-cripple-it gene. That is an awful lot of precise behavior for one mutation. At this point the bot fly would have a mosquito but no idea what to do with it. It would need simultaneously to have a stick-eggs-on-mosquito mutation. This would seem to require another rather ambitious gene.

Catching the mosquito without laying the eggs, or squashing the mosquito in the process, or laying eggs in mid air without having caught the mosquito, would seem a losing proposition. None of these awfully-lucky mutations would be of use without the others. How do you evolve this elaborate dance by gradual steps?

There’s not enough Drano.

Hornets, Yet

Living things are impossible, but some are more so. Consider brains. Larger brains supposedly allow more-complex behavior. In a laptop civilization, we refer to this as “processing power.” But consider hornets, cautiously. These have very complex behavior but almost no brains or other nervous tissue. Yet their unbrains control six multiply-joined legs (any robotics engineer will tell you that this is a massive problem), and allow them to fly precisely, also a very difficult problem. They know just how to chew wood fiber to make a paste from which they know how to construct complex nests. They know how and when to mate, which is not a simple a process. The same barely existent nervous system operates various senses and interprets the resulting data, which also isn’t easy. They find food, inform the others of its location, and navigate effortlessly over long distance.

Ant1

Even worse than hornets: Here you see very little ant, and very little of very little ant consists of nervous tissue. Yet they too build nests, control legs, and senses, and digestive organs, find food, care for young, and lots more. It takes an evolutionist not to suspect that something is going on that we do not understand. Another ant might notice, but not an evolutionist.

Yet hornets are pointy-headed intellectuals compared to pharaoh ants, above, those super-tiny picnic abominations of which several would fit on a hornet’s eye. They too have complex social organization and so on—with hardly any neurons. In general, the behavior of social insects is probably more complex than that of whales. It is inexplicable, or at least unexplained.

Metamorphosis: You Can’t Get There from Here

Straight-line evolution, for example in which Eohippus gradually gets larger until it reaches Clydesdale, is plausible because each intervening step is a viable animal. Darwin himself pointed this out. In fact it is just selective breeding. Yet many evolutionary transformations seem to require intermediate stages that could not survive. Metamorphosis in insects is perhaps the most baffling example.

Consider. There are two-cycle bugs that lay eggs that hatch into tiny replicas of the adults, which grow, lay eggs, and repeat the cycle. The four-cycle bugs go through egg, larva, pupa, adult. Question: What are the viable steps needed to evolve from two-cycle to four-cycle? Or from anything to four-cycle?

Here I am stumped. As best I can see, the eggs of the two-cycler would have to evolve toward being caterpillars, which are enormously different structurally and otherwise from adults. Goodbye legs, chitinous exoskeleton; head, thorax, and abdomen, on and on. Whatever the first mutation toward this end, the resulting newly-hatched mutant would have to be viable—able to live and reproduce until the next mutation occurred.

Let us consider this question carefully.

We begin with a two-cycle bug, that for convenience we will call a roach, which will endeavor to evolve into a bug that, also for convenience, we will assume to be a butterfly. The roach has the insect’s standard body plan of head, thorax, and abdomen, and the usual chitinous exoskeleton. From a spirit of charity we will assume that it is a flying roach to give it a head start toward butterflyhood.

To achieve that exalted end, our roach would first have to evolve into a caterpillar–that is, a larval form. It is difficult to see how this could occur at all, or why. To become a caterpillar, our roach would have to lose its jointed legs, exoskeleton, and body plan. Since not even the most hopeful evolutionist could attribute such sweeping changes to one mutation, the transformation would have to proceed by steps involving at least several and probably many mutations. Losing the exoskeleton would leave it unarmored and unable to walk, not an obvious selective advantage. Or do we believe that head, thorax, and abdomen first merged mediated by a long chain of accidental mutations under mysterious selective pressures , and then it lost its exoskeleton and became, well– bait?

But if these things did happen, they would lead to a free-standing race of caterpillars, a new species, necessarily being able to reproduce. Then, for reasons mysterious to me, these would have to decide to pupate and become butterflies. And the butterfly would have to lay eggs that became caterpillars.

Which could not possibly work. Metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly is enormously complex and if you don’t get it right the first time, it’s curtains. It would depend on a great many steps which would have to appear simultaneously. First, our caterpillar would have to use its spinnerets (of mysterious provenance, but never mind) to make a cocoon, in which which would proceed to die because it hadn’t yet evolved metamorphosis. Why a caterpillar would think of doing this is not clear. To turn successfully into a butterfly, it would need the biochemical machinery to transform a mushy, legless, wingless, head-thorax-abdomenless worm into an utterly different creature. Where would it have gotten the impossibly complex genetic blueprint of the butterfly?

Methinks something is going on that we do not understand.

Note that the questions posed by these bugs are not merely pleasant musings on a slow afternoon. Either the Theory of Evolution can explain them, or the theory fails. The problem is usually referred to as that of Irreducible Complexity, the requirement that a great many mutations each of no value in itself, or actually harmful, appear simultaneously to create a given outcome.

Irreducible Complexity

This term, implied in the foregoing, refers to the frequently observed existence in living organisms of systems that depend for their functioning on the simultaneous presence of things that would be either useless or detrimental by themselves, and thus make no evolutionary sense. For example, none of the individual steps of the bot fly’s complicated behavior with its mosquito would be of any value unless all the others were also present. This is irreducible complexity: take away any part and the system fails.

Evolutionists insist that irreducible complexity does not exist. If this is true, then any biological system can be simplified step by step back to its origins without producing intermediate stages that could not survive. In particular, a living cell, the functionally important parts of which seem irreducibly complex, can be simplified bit by bit to produce the original First Critter. Why has this not been done?

I find it interesting to imagine just how the simplification might be carried out. Perhaps by reducing the number of nucleotides per codon from three to two? This would allow coding only sixteen amino acids with no STOPs or STARTs. Can we eliminate transcription and go direct to translation? Get rid of the cell membrane so that everything inside floats off in different directions without extinguishing what was left?

Surely this process would solve the problem of seeing how the cell evolved from the First Critter, and what that critter was.

If there is no such thing as irreducible complexity.

The Two Cop-Outs

Traits often arise for which there is no good evolutionary explanation. Evolutionists here have two escape hatches, (1) conservation of energy, and (2) sexual selection. For example, if one points out that humans are weak and would be more survivable if they were as strong as, say, chimpanzees, the response is that having larger muscles would require a higher caloric intake to maintain them, and lead to starvation if there were a drought. Sexual selection: If peacocks have hugely conspicuous tails that would attract predators, the explanation is that all the girls love a good tail, so the guy leaves more children. Let’s look at these notions.

Conservation of energy. Human beings are conspicuous in the natural world for being weak and slow, and for having poor senses of smell and hearing. Why? Evolutionists have multiple stories. One is that because humans walk upright, they can see farther on open veldt and thus have substituted vision for other senses that just are not necessary.

This makes no sense which, as so often in matters evolutionary, doesn’t matter. Obviously being able to detect approaching predators at night by smell would be a great advantage. Lions are the color of dirt and dead vegetation and take advantage of both. Horses, which have good vision, and eyes at about the level of a human’s, have an excellent sense of smell. This story doesn’t live up even to the usual evolutionary standard of vague plausibility.

Another explanation of the poor olfaction of humans is that a more acute sense would require larger olfactory regions in the brain and, since a surprisingly large proportion of the body’s energy is expended by the brain, these larger olfactory regions would increase the need for food and cause starvation in time of famine.

Does this make sense? No.

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Consider. Rats have a much better sense of smell than do humans, which they use in finding what they regard as food. A rat’s brain weighs two grams, a human’s about 1350. Let us assume that a rats entire brain is dedicated to smell, which of course it isn’t. Adding all of a rat’s brain to the human would increase its size from 1350 to 1352 grams, an increase of 2/1350 or .15%, Since the brain uses 15% of a human’s energy budget, the overall increase in energy requirements is 2/1350 X 100 X .15, or .02%. Not 2%, but .02%. This minute increase cannot possibly offset the advantages of an acute sense of smell.

The same reasoning applies to other sense, such as hearing. And of course people already have olfactory regions. They just don’t do much.

Sexual selection Another way of explaining things that otherwise make no sense is “sexual selection.” Many things would seem to work against survival, yet persist in nature: huge antlers not usable in combat, the gorgeous tails of peacocks, and large breasts in humans, among many others. Why do women have conspicuous breasts? They are not needed to produce adequate milk, and they are a substantial physical disadvantage in running (thus we have sports bras). One would expect them to disappear.

Darwin

These things are useless for defense as the animal would have to stand on its head to present them to an enemy. They cannot help balance or speed. We are to believe that they serve as sexual attractants because otherwise they are inexplicable. (I favor option B.) Since it is unlikely that headgear so glorious sprang from a point mutation, they must have begun as mere bumps. And all the girls swooned?

The answer is sexual selection: men are attracted to large breasts, so those women with them mate and have more children. This suggests that women with modest endowments will have trouble getting laid, which in turn suggests that evolutionists need to get out more.

The problems with sexual selection are twofold. First is that sexual selection requires a pre-existing attraction to large breasts. Otherwise in a cave society when the first woman through mutation appeared with big ones, we would hear one cave man say to another, “Geez, Urk Urk, what’s wrongwith Sally?” “Beats, me, Ralph. Maybe it’s cancer.” But why would there be a preference for large breasts when there were no large breasts to prefer?

The second problem is that if sexual selection favored large breasts, by now most women would have them, which visibly is not the case. (Again, compare Greek statues of 2500 years ago look like us.) And of course when the sexually-selected trait became general in the population, it would cease to be of advantage.

The Problem of Consciousness

While consciousness seems the defining characteristic of life, (“I am conscious, therefore I am.”) or at least of the higher forms of animal life, it cannot be derived from physics. It cannot even be detected. Are ants conscious–or, for that matter, rocks? Are dogs less conscious than people, and ants less conscious than dogs.? Or are they just less intelligent? How could we tell? The questions may seem silly, but they are not. They are tied up with our ability to make decisions, which physics says we cannot. Again, our brains, which are physical systems, cannot act on decisions any more than a dropped bowling ball can decide to fall sideways.

Here is something outside of physics, and therefore outside of evolution, which must be ignored, and is.

There Must Be a Virus

When people have engaged in bitter ideological war over a theoretical ship dear to them, they tend to overlook the cracks and stains and leaks in the planking. Evolutionism is full of such. An unaffiliated skeptic can point them out in droves.

In evolution, traits which conduce to survival, and thus to the passing on of genes, are supposed to flourish, while traits that work against this happy passing on, or simply do nothing, are supposed to be eliminated. Does this happen?

Often, yes. Not infrequently, no.

An obvious problem is male homosexuality. Homosexuals seldom have children. How does not passing on one’s genes contribute to passing on one’s genes? The condition would seem to be a prime candidate for elimination by evolution, yet it has apparently been with us forever. If this cannot be explained away, then something is wrong with the theory in at least this case.

Here evolutionists fall back on their Maginot Line, vague plausibility. For example Greg Cochran, a physicist of immoderate pomposity at the University of Utah, says that a virus causes homosexuality. The evidence for this virus? Homosexuality. Yet the chief characteristic of the virus unfortunately seems to be indetectability: No one can find it. Without this virus, the evolution would fail, at least at this point. Therefore a virus must, must, must exist. We infer reality from the needs of our theory.

Other reproductive traits suffer from similar inexplicability: what are the reproductive value of suicide, masochism, sadism, schizophrenia, and so on? Should these not be filtered from the gene pool? Must we invoke viruses to explain these too? Schizophrenia: A Neanderthal who thought that the CIA put transmitters in his teeth and tried to shake hands with Kodiak bears might limit his reproductive opportunities. While a suicide who blows himself up with a bomb may be said to be disseminating his DNA, it serves little reproductive purpose. Yet all of these things have been with us forever.

I therefore propose the existence of a virus for each of these peculiarities. And perhaps one for sun spots.

Again, the problem is Domain Bloat, insisting that one’s theory explain what it can explain but also what it can’t.

Next, consider pain. If you step on broken glass, it hurts, so you stop doing it, and don’t end up crippled and eaten by wolves, and so you can pass on your genes upon encountering an amiable maiden. This makes sense.

What doesn’t make sense is the agonizing pain caused by many circumstances about which, pre-medicine, the victim could do nothing. Kidney stones, for example, are paralyzingly painful. A choroidal hemorrhage, behind the retina, is hideous. The agony has no utility since the premodern sufferer could do nothing about it. For that matter, the contribution of migraines to survival is not apparent, as a person rolling on the ground and clutching his head would seem vulnerable to ingestion. On and on. Why the abundant pain receptors with no function? Why do they not, like Marx’s state, wither away?

Perhaps instead of asking, “How does evolution explain a thing?” we should occasionally ask “Does evolution explain it?”

Impossible, Impossibler, Impossiblest

Morality

Clear examples of things outside the domain of physics are morality, right and wrong, Good and Evil. A Darwinist cannot say that some things are intrinsically wrong. “Wrong” cannot be derived from physics. Instead he must show that moral behavior exists because it promotes the passing on of genes. Thus I nurse my brother back to health when he has a broken leg because together we can protect ourselves and our women better and thus pass on our genes.

This of course runs into all sorts of problems. In Moslem countries, “honor kills” are thought acceptable: killing one’s daughter on discovering that she had engaged in sex before marriage (thus offering to pass on her, and her father’s, genes, but never mind). In Christian countries, this is called “first-degree murder,” and likely results in Dad’s sitting in a funny chair with wires running to it. Are we to believe that Moslem genomes contain a kill-daughter gene? Or is the obvious explanation, culture, to blame?

It is interesting that evolutionists do not believe their own doctrine. Suppose a Darwinist found out that my hobby was using a blowtorch to torture to death children with severe genetic retardation. He would be horrified.

“Why?” I would ask. “We certainly do not want them passing on their extremely defective genes. Caring for them expends resources that would be better spent in raising more children to pass on our genes. Torturing them has no more evolutionary meaning than killing them instantly. Actually, all I am doing is terminating certain chemical reactions and allowing others to begin. What then is your objection?”

His objection would of course be that torturing children is wrong. But, again, “wrong” doesn’t exist within the domain of physics, and so of Darwinism. Domain bloat.

There is Something Else involved. I do not know what.

(Republished from Fred on Everything by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Science • Tags: Darwinism, Evolution 
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  1. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    I agree.

    I argued with an evolutionist once, a biology major. I argued that natural selection and random mutation alone were not cogent, comprehensive, sufficient or necessary causes to account for Life.

    My argument (don’t throw tomatoes at me, it’s drawn from physics and chemistry) was that for anything to exist, it is the product of two opposing forces. Why do I say this? Because everything is.

    Here’s an example: a soap bubble is a film filled with gas. The bubble floats in the same gas. The gas molecules inside the bubble are moving randomly, the molecules colliding with the internal wall of the film. As do the molecules of gas outside of the soap bubble. The soap bubble, the thing, then, is the boundary between two opposing pressures, constantly oscillating or vibrating at its harmonic frequency as first the inward then the outward pressure predominates. It is in relative dynamic equilibrium.

    One cannot conceive of the bubble as existing apart from considering both the forces acting upon it from without or within. There is a pushing out and a pressing in.

    And just so with evolution. Natural selection presses in, shaping the specie’s gene pool, but some agency within the organism or within it’s genes, some “intelligence” pushes out–and its not just random chance.

    It’s not God–or maybe it is, if by that you mean Nous, as the Greeks understood God. At any rate, it’s not the God of the Old or New Testament.

    There is some sort of exploratory aspect that drives the variation of gene expression in the process of evolution.

    Every species is a soap bubble, a thing, an identity. A thing can only exist if there is some internal source of pressure pressing outwards, in this case, striving to express itself in all its manifestations. Natural selection trims those excesses that are not viable.

    Belief that randomness can account for existence of living beings is tantamount to positing that something can be made of just one thing (natural selection), and that it is not the product of interaction of two opposing forces. This proposes the existence of something that has never been encountered in all of science. Every phenomenon described by scientific law entails opposition. Opposition results in pulsating or oscillating behavior, dynamic equilibrium.

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    • Replies: @Francis Lane
    The outward pressure is reproduction with diversity. For simple organisms the diversity may be due to random mutation, for higher organisms, most diversity comes from sexual reproduction.

    If you take 1024 coins, toss them on a table and select only the heads, you'll have about 512 heads. Do it again with just those coins which landed heads. After about 10 cycles of this you will be left with one coin that has landed heads 10 times in a row. It's wrong to say this coin is unlikely to have occurred by pure chance (misreading of the whole process of evolution) and its wrong to assume that the coin is not "fair" (intellegent design). (To be fair, it's also wrong to assume that the coin IS fair :)
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  2. Physics would be a more fertile field for Fred’s skepticism. The standard model rests entirely on the quark, which is predefined as unobservable.

    A billion years is a long ass time. Pictures of an empty Los Angeles basin from 150 years ago make one appreciate what (mostly) rudderless economic forces can create over time. So it is with natural forces.

    Read More
  3. Too long, and a persistent form and repetition of logical failure. Break it up, make it 10 focused essays.

    Science sometimes explains things, but the true essence of science is to describe the world around us. A proof for how “life” came into existence is not a requirement that any of many evolutionary science specialties are required to provide. Sorry.

    I admit to being a bit surprised, and disappointed, that Fred Reed seems to believe that evolutionary studies must trot out proof that life began spontaneously. How come evolutionists have to explain exactly how life happened, and creationists just say “God did it” and they’re home free, so to speak? Burden of proof and all, ya know? At the very least, Fred should demand the same level of explanation and proof, da? Heck, don’t even get yourself worked up about proving God exists — just prove God created life, huh? ‘Cause assuming God did it is not proof, any more than assuming that life happened spontaneously from interactions of chemical compounds is proof.

    While you’re at it, explain where God came from. But, when all is said and done, why bother? Why not let religion be religion, and science be science? Religion explains; science describes.

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    • Agree: Rob McX
    • Replies: @Shitposter Supreme
    I think you're proving his point pretty well, to be honest
    , @boogerbently
    Agree with shitposter.
    You are the posterchild of Freds article.
    , @Talha
    Hey JJS,

    Why not let religion be religion, and science be science? Religion explains; science describes.
     
    That was short and sweet and to the point (those that are in one professional sphere should be humble enough to not overstep their bounds - this goes for both sides) - I'm going to borrow that one if you don't mind. :)

    Peace.
    , @utu
    You did not get it at all. You are just obsessed with God or rather people who think there is God and you do not realize it. Zero insight. I wonder how many genes are responsible for insight.
    , @Reg Cæsar

    Why not let religion be religion, and science be science?
     
    When will materialists abandon their own assumption that matter can "think"? That seems at least as voodoo as anything any religion has trotted out.

    When Africans do this, it's called "animism". When Western philosophers and scientists do it, they give it much more palatable names. Scientific materialism is just one example.

    As for "evolution", I can't work up enough energy to have an opinion on it. Just to note the irony of its strongest non-scientist supporters just as vigorously denying its impact on the human race. "Favored races"? Horrors!!

    In addition, irreligionists might go back again (and again and again) to the drawing board, with some humility, and find their own replacement for religion's excellent track record in inspiring women to breed. Marxism was able to pull it off for awhile, but only by aping the priests.
  4. It is interesting that the concept of “God” evolved.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Finbar
    And belief in God seems to be of great survival advantage, since the vast majority possess it.
  5. once you accept that it’s impossible to know how the first DNA molecule came into existence, the rest seems fairly simple.

    we don’t need to know how life started to understand how it evolves. The Neanderthals are gone because “we” killed them off and replaced them. Soon, we’ll be replaced by AI, perhaps using some of the carbon based life forms to augment its evolution. Perhaps we’ll morph into a kind of AI/organic synthesis.

    the way I see it, when people ask me where the missing link is, I say it’s us. We’re the missing link. We’re poised between the animal world and the Gods. Much, much closer to the animals. We’ve only just began the trip to post-animal existence, and in 99.99999% of our existence, were 100% animal. (even if we don’t always want to admit it)

    There’s just a hint of the divine. And that hint is found in Fred’s grasping attempt to understand his place in the universe. {which is the question that ultimately motivates both religion and science} To ask of his life, why? Animals don’t self-reflect and wonder at why they exist, they simply do. Modern humans wonder why (or think they know), but the fact is, there is no why. That’s the next hurdle in human cultural evolution. To understand that there is no why, and be comfortable with it. Indeed, to revel and exult in such knowledge.

    Personally when I hear people’s angst and their squeamishness at the knowledge that we’re only animals and are driven by instincts and chemicals and physics that we don’t ultimately control with some kind of volitional free will, I want to tell them ‘yes! and how wonderful is that?!’ You see if we weren’t put here by the Gods, or some God, or aliens, but rather have simply come to exist by some quirk of the universe, and are really animals, and automatons driven by instincts to eat and roam and fuck and frolic, enjoying all the fruits of the senses and all the wonders of life, just for the fun of it, well then how cool is that?!

    We humans are incredibly unlikely accidents, and we’re not beholding to anyone or anything, least of all some God or Gods. (perhaps that’s one of the real glories of living after the Renaissance and the age of science) We’re free to revel in life, and be amazed at the singular miracle of our existence. Every breath is a treasure, once you come to understand the unlikelihood of it all. Not only that we exist, but that we’re able to look at ourselves and be aware of ourselves and indeed, marvel at it all.

    If we were put here by a God, who expected us to worship Him and pay homage to Him and crawl on our bellies in humility and fear of Him, then that’s not too fun. But if we were an infinitesimally unlikely accident, of, as Fred mentions, to the n’th degree, now wow, what great luck!

    As for consciousness, what it is, is the unlikely benefit of having such a large brain, that as you’re out foraging for food, (going to work), or seeking a mate- unlike most of the animal kingdom, they’re unaware of these instincts (and hormones and enzymes and dendrites and synapsis) all firing and flowing and functioning and tweaking our sense of ourselves, as we (these machines that we are) live in this incredible world, we (almost alone, with the dolphins and other advanced life forms) are able to be aware of it all, and as we feel it, we’re also able to reflect on it all. It’s a byproduct of the functioning of our brains, that we have this amazing thing called consciousness, that allows us to reflect on it all, and be aware that we’re going through this phenomena called living.

    It’s incredible. No?

    Those are just a few of my thoughts on all this.

    I like these kinds of conversations.

    But I would prefer to take the issues one by one, so to speak. Not that it wasn’t fun to comment on this.

    Read More
    • Replies: @random observer
    "Personally when I hear people’s angst and their squeamishness at the knowledge that we’re only animals and are driven by instincts and chemicals and physics that we don’t ultimately control with some kind of volitional free will, I want to tell them ‘yes! and how wonderful is that?!’ You see if we weren’t put here by the Gods, or some God, or aliens, but rather have simply come to exist by some quirk of the universe, and are really animals, and automatons driven by instincts to eat and roam and fuck and frolic, enjoying all the fruits of the senses and all the wonders of life, just for the fun of it, well then how cool is that?! "

    I'm tempted to adhere but have two concerns.

    1) For some of us, the deprivation of the world of the intellect as well as of purpose would deprive life of meaning twice over, and the absence of meaning or, as you say, the acceptance of lack of meaning, must mean suicide. We therefore sustain ourselves with the illusion of meaning.

    2) Not unrelated, it is worth noting that the world open to the senses alone is as much full of pain and disease, injury and torment as well as fruits, as many terrors if not horrors as of wonders. Even those that might be expected to be of transitory nature with a full recovery in the offing can be hellish to endure, and the prospect of renewed frolicking an insufficient source of strength to endure them.

    Somewhat separately, the wonders of life and the tools by which we stave off its horrors have been enormously enhanced by the efforts of people pursuing deeper meaning than frolic only, giving us just enough knowledge of science to create a world far more comfortable than any state of nature ever was.
    , @boogerbently
    To Freds point,
    How does a simpler "thing" evolve to a more complicated one ?
    How does eyesight or hearing evolve from the blind and deaf ?
    There could be no result to something there was no previous concept of.
    If that genetic information was already there, why did it remain dormant or who put it there ?
    , @in the middle
    If we were put here by a God, who expected us to worship Him and pay homage to Him and crawl on our bellies in humility and fear of Him, then that’s not too fun.

    Sir.

    I am a strong believer in the NT, and not much on the old, especially after Genesis. I am totally convinced of the existence of a Higher Being, who created all, that the so called science is of not value to me. (I do have three College degrees, which as Paul said, I considered them dung, for the excellency of the knowledge of my Savior Iousus Christos)

    I am so amazed by Mr. Fred Reed, and his insights, that he basically made my day. I am going to re-read it again.

    The NT does not expect no one to crawl on our bellies, at all. You must be misguided. However, Christos, call me 'his friend' and I don't expect my friends to crawl on their bellies for me. Rather, I do enjoy their company and 'friendship'.
    , @The Scalpel
    Rurik,

    How do I get on your mail list? I like the way you think.

    The Scalpel
    , @Montañés
    Cool?

    You must be kidding.

    If that feels cool to you is because you have not thought thoroughly across the implications. I was once were you are, exactly in the very same spot, but kept going forward down that road. At the end of it there is, well, a dead end, a cul-de-sac of absolute nihilism and decomposition of the notions of self and Reality.

    The decomposition of the Self is bad enough, more than enough to drive you clinically crazy but the other one, the deconstruction of Reality... There are only two ways forward: sheer insanity or the closure of the loop and your return to Theism (capital T). Been there, done that.

    Keep thinking, keep going down the road, endure the best you can the periods in the meantime when you'll feel like in need of medication. One day, after leaving many miles behind Nietzsche, Dawkins and Hitchens (like I did) you'll catch up with me. Can you see those huge Doors, waiting at the end of the trail? Yes: it's our Maker's House. There we go, you and I. Either if we want or not.
  6. As usual, Fred writes an excellent essay. I’ve found that both evolutionists and global warmists cling to their faiths even more than any Evangelical, Orthodox Jew or Wahhabi. Fred has made reasonable arguments that call into question some aspects of evolution, no biologist will answer him logically or convincingly. Evolutionists typically argue against the Judeo-Christian-Islamist God and are easily able to prove, at least to me, the impossibility of such a God existing. This doesn’t prove the impossibility of any higher power, god, gods or goddesses, existing. It just proves that the God of Abraham doesn’t exist, that’s all. I’m not arguing that there’s any proof of a higher power either, I’m saying this is an impenetrable mystery. This is why engineering is the only real science. Theorize all you want, building something is real.

    Read More
    • Replies: @in the middle
    Evolutionists typically argue against the Judeo-Christian-Islamist God and are easily able to prove, at least to me, the impossibility of such a God existing...

    Not such thing as a Judeo-Christian-Islamist God.

    All three are in contradiction with each other. Judeans worship their rabbis who control the tribe with an iron fist. Mohammedans also are controlled by their Imams. In each of these religions there are several break ups, which causes confusion to the uninformed. Judeans/Talmudists have several branches, as well as Mohammedans. Then we have 'churchianity', which most are familiar with.
    Iin the obscure and non familiar world, we do have 'Christians' who are few and random in umbral areas where they live unrecognized by the world at large.

    the term 'Judeo-Christian' was coined during WWII, and utilized to corral the herd against Germany.

    A little extra info:

    Following the division of Israel and the Assyrian captivity of the northern tribes, the southern kingdom of Judah adopted the pagan traditions of the heathen nation of ancient Babylon.
    The Chaldean religious tradition that was embraced by apostate Jews during their captivity in Babylon was delivered to subsequent generations by word of mouth. According to Blavatsky, these disseminators of the Chaldean tradition in the few centuries before Christ were known as Tanaim:

    “Kabalist. From Q B L H, Kabala, an unwritten or oral tradition. The kabalist is a student of ‘secret science’, one who interprets the hidden meaning of the Scriptures with the help of the symbolical Kabala… The Tanaim were the first kabalists among the Jews; they appeared at Jerusalem about the beginning of the third century before the Christian era
  7. I admit I’ve only read part of the essay, but a few points.

    From last year: Researchers Make Artificial Cells That Can Replicate Themselves

    The argument that it would take infinitely long amounts of time for evolution to produce results is flawed, because evolution is not merely randomness: it is randomness constrained by physical laws. The combination of those things can produce amazing complexity in much shorter timespans. A good book on this: Laws of the Game: How the Principles of Nature Govern Chance by Manfred Eigen and Ruthild Winkler

    Read More
    • Replies: @John Jeremiah Smith

    The argument that it would take infinitely long amounts of time for evolution to produce results is flawed, because evolution is not merely randomness: it is randomness constrained by physical laws.
     
    Yes, and not to put too fine a point on it, but the most primal instance of an "organism" comes into existence with a great degree of selected characteristics dependent upon immediate circumstance. It is not simply "constrained by physical laws"; it has already incorporated yuuuuge numbers of selected traits.

    Evolution doesn't even remotely approach a "random" playing field. Life on Earth is presented with a limited range of conditions under which "life" can exist. Move that primordial blob to Saturn ... is it going to adapt? Does it have any traits at all that will keep it alive (and reproducing!) on Saturn?

    Evolutionary forces are by no means completely random and open-ended. A billion years is plenty of time when the number of factors is finite and rather sharply limited by actual conditions.
    , @Montañés
    What is randomness?

    I ask because I suspect you're perfectly aware we don't have any agreement or really definitive definition of randomness. Moreover, we're absolutely unable of producing pure randomness. We only simulate it.

    Which is pretty interesting in itself.
  8. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    “What doesn’t make sense is the agonizing pain caused by many circumstances about which, pre-medicine, the victim could do nothing. Kidney stones, for example, are paralyzingly painful. A choroidal hemorrhage, behind the retina, is hideous. The agony has no utility since the premodern sufferer could do nothing about it. For that matter, the contribution of migraines to survival is not apparent, as a person rolling on the ground and clutching his head would seem vulnerable to ingestion. On and on. Why the abundant pain receptors with no function? Why do they not, like Marx’s state, wither away?”

    -What about the fact that pain receptors are there for the many things that one can do something about? There may be some things I can’t do anything about, but there are a huge number of things which I can do something about, or learn to be more careful about. So on the net, its beneficial to have pain receptors, even if it occasionally works against me.

    Also, maybe my kidney stones are so painful because they affect areas that my body has evolved to be more sensitive to- internal organs, and everything down there. Sure, I can’t do anything about kidney stones before the advent of modern medicine, but having extra sensitivity there does help me do something to protect my equipment against the many things that I can do something about.

    Evolutionarily, a net positive would be selectively advantageous. There are probably very few traits which are positive which don’t have at least a few drawbacks. There’s probably been a selective advantage in height for men.There are positives- combat advantage, social dominance advantage, etc.Yet tall people are more likely to have cancer, less likely to live as long as short people. Yet its still probably been selectively favored in men. A wolf with a thick fur coat living in Canada would have a huge advantage during the cold winter months, yet it would be a bit of a disadvantage during warm summer months. But if it were overall much more beneficial for survival during the winter even if were a bit uncomfortable during the summer, it would be selectively favored.

    Interestingly the concept you bring up does work in the opposite direction as well. Your brain doesn’t have pain receptors. This despite the fact that its a big ball of nerves. Why? Because presumably you couldn’t do anything about it. You’d be inclined to think if it was random, given all those nerve cells, some would be pain receptors, but no.

    Read More
  9. While various aspects of evolutionary theory have had flaws or gaps (and continue to have them), I suspect that some of the defensiveness of evolutionists comes from having to so often defend against illogical arguments from religious critics.

    If one looks at all life on Earth, and the historical record, the theory of evolution makes sense of an awful lot of it. There are puzzles and gaps, sure, but the theory arose to explain many things that did not make sense in the Creationist view. The Creationist view necessitates believing in a God who played a lot of jokes, did a lot of things inefficiently (e.g. why design humans to walk upright and then give them back problems?), made a huge number of mistakes, and then left a lot of false clues to trick people into thinking evolution occurred. Seems unlikely, at least for the Judeo-Christian conception of God.

    And God is the ultimate reason why religious Creationism makes no sense. They endless argue that life is too amazing and complex to have arisen in any way, except by design. But is you ask where God came from, they’ll tell you He just “always existed.” Somehow, the amazing powers of God require no explanation of origins, but evolutionists are held to task for not explaining every step of the last 4 billion years.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Lot

    And God is the ultimate reason why religious Creationism makes no sense. They endless argue that life is too amazing and complex to have arisen in any way, except by design. But is you ask where God came from, they’ll tell you He just “always existed.” Somehow, the amazing powers of God require no explanation of origins, but evolutionists are held to task for not explaining every step of the last 4 billion years.
     
    YES!
    , @utu
    "And God is the ultimate reason..." - You did not get it either. Why are you more interested in God than evolution?
    , @in the middle
    No one can explain where God came from. It might be because there is not need for it. I Personally don't have the need to know where God came from.
    When I was in the service and was told 'need to know' I never question it, because some things are well... need to know, and may be God does not tells us where and how he came from based on that, 'need to know'.
    I could not comprehend the deluge for a long, long time, I questioned how could a 'globe' be flooded. Until, until I started to view videos and thinking on the crazy and more crazy idea of a flat earth! Well, several videos on Utube which are brilliantly exposed and mathematically detailed have brought me to the conclusion the we were lied, and how that lie came about by sun worshipers (capernicus), even though they 'created' that lie without any facts! So go ahead and ridicule me if you will, but before that, study and review those info videos and come back afterwards if you still incredulous.

    Respectfully,

    in the middle
  10. At the risk of monopolizing the thread, one more link. For a fun and fascinating look at how random chance constrained by simple rules can produce amazing complexity, see Conway’s Game of Life.

    Read More
    • Replies: @StAugustine
    Thank you!! I've been trying to remember that for ages now!
  11. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Like all human knowledge, evolution is a myth. But one that suits our rationalistic age perfectly.
    That’s how Tom Wolfe, a Noble awardee if Nobel for literature had non-political significance, put it.

    What the tiny midget lying on my tablet screen knows of the meaning its on-screen content has for me and the tablet’s innards workings, this, at best, we human can know of “reality”.

    It was said so well in The World as Will and Representation, one wonders how humans haven’t accepted it yet.
    Perhaps they’d feel life be too tasteless, accepting their finiteness.

    ———————–
    Nevertheless, sciences can provide descriptions of our, our human mind’s, world, and help us to calculate and see in advance this world’s events; as events-for-us, that is.

    Read More
    • Replies: @John Jeremiah Smith

    Like all human knowledge, evolution is a myth. But one that suits our rationalistic age perfectly.
    That’s how Tom Wolfe, a Noble awardee if Nobel for literature had non-political significance, put it.
     
    The above sort of comical hoo-hoo that streams in from the Great Internet Pool of Stupidity is a constant source of amusement.

    Sam Clemens, as a writer, is light-years superior to Tom Wolfe. As of today, I have not adopted any of Clemens' theological viewpoints.
  12. Consciousness can be explained rather simply, but you may not like the answer…

    http://hirocker.com/consciousness/on-human-consciousness.html

    Read More
    • Replies: @John Jeremiah Smith

    Consciousness can be explained rather simply, but you may not like the answer…

    http://hirocker.com/consciousness/on-human-consciousness.html
     
    Possibly because your "answer" is pure blather.
  13. Anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Great essay here:

    “Theory of Evolution,” in Titus Burckhardt, The Essential Titus Burckhardt, [Read More

  14. @John Jeremiah Smith
    Too long, and a persistent form and repetition of logical failure. Break it up, make it 10 focused essays.

    Science sometimes explains things, but the true essence of science is to describe the world around us. A proof for how "life" came into existence is not a requirement that any of many evolutionary science specialties are required to provide. Sorry.

    I admit to being a bit surprised, and disappointed, that Fred Reed seems to believe that evolutionary studies must trot out proof that life began spontaneously. How come evolutionists have to explain exactly how life happened, and creationists just say "God did it" and they're home free, so to speak? Burden of proof and all, ya know? At the very least, Fred should demand the same level of explanation and proof, da? Heck, don't even get yourself worked up about proving God exists -- just prove God created life, huh? 'Cause assuming God did it is not proof, any more than assuming that life happened spontaneously from interactions of chemical compounds is proof.

    While you're at it, explain where God came from. But, when all is said and done, why bother? Why not let religion be religion, and science be science? Religion explains; science describes.

    I think you’re proving his point pretty well, to be honest

    Read More
    • Replies: @John Jeremiah Smith

    I think you’re proving his point pretty well, to be honest
     
    I think the alias you adopt proves a thousand "points" that aren't worth investigating.
  15. An excellent essay whose main point, that evolutionists don’t behave like other scientists do in key respects, is irreproachable.

    One technical point, on which both evolutionists and creationists have been foolish, is irreducible complexity. Evolution acts by simplifying and cutting down more easily than by building up, so if some “reducibly complex” system evolved in any way at all, the further operation of evolution would reduce it until it could no longer be reduced without loss of function. Therefore, irreducibility should be unsurprising. We need to find ways to detect defunct scaffolding in DNA in order to establish that, and that has not been accomplished, but both sides in this debate have been stupid, evolutionists for denying that irreducible complexity exists and creationists for acting like it proves the existence of a creator.

    Read More
    • Replies: @John Jeremiah Smith

    One technical point, on which both evolutionists and creationists have been foolish, is irreducible complexity. Evolution acts by simplifying and cutting down more easily than by building up, so if some “reducibly complex” system evolved in any way at all, the further operation of evolution would reduce it until it could no longer be reduced without loss of function.
     
    "If" being the most applicable term.

    Observable evolution is extremely inefficient. It most certainly does not concern itself with boozhwah like "irreducible complexity" because the forces and counter-forces collectively regarded as "evolution" are not dedicated to, nor constructed by, bullshit concepts that have no application. Evolution just plain does not care, because "evolution" is just the universe doing what it does.

    Evolution is not "survival of the fittest". At most, it is "survival of the fit", or possibly "Those who can survive sometimes do." Adaptations that may be more effective in one environment may mean the end of a species when that environment changes, or the organisms are forced out of the niche by other organisms. There is no such thing as "superior" adaptive characteristics. The bar is low; any organism "good enough" gets by.

    Otherwise, if you prefer a nice little morality hook, we would be working as slaves to mayflies.
  16. @Anonymous
    Like all human knowledge, evolution is a myth. But one that suits our rationalistic age perfectly.
    That's how Tom Wolfe, a Noble awardee if Nobel for literature had non-political significance, put it.

    What the tiny midget lying on my tablet screen knows of the meaning its on-screen content has for me and the tablet's innards workings, this, at best, we human can know of "reality".

    It was said so well in The World as Will and Representation, one wonders how humans haven't accepted it yet.
    Perhaps they'd feel life be too tasteless, accepting their finiteness.

    -----------------------
    Nevertheless, sciences can provide descriptions of our, our human mind's, world, and help us to calculate and see in advance this world's events; as events-for-us, that is.

    Like all human knowledge, evolution is a myth. But one that suits our rationalistic age perfectly.
    That’s how Tom Wolfe, a Noble awardee if Nobel for literature had non-political significance, put it.

    The above sort of comical hoo-hoo that streams in from the Great Internet Pool of Stupidity is a constant source of amusement.

    Sam Clemens, as a writer, is light-years superior to Tom Wolfe. As of today, I have not adopted any of Clemens’ theological viewpoints.

    Read More
  17. @Daruma
    Consciousness can be explained rather simply, but you may not like the answer...


    http://hirocker.com/consciousness/on-human-consciousness.html

    Consciousness can be explained rather simply, but you may not like the answer…

    http://hirocker.com/consciousness/on-human-consciousness.html

    Possibly because your “answer” is pure blather.

    Read More
  18. @Polymath
    An excellent essay whose main point, that evolutionists don't behave like other scientists do in key respects, is irreproachable.

    One technical point, on which both evolutionists and creationists have been foolish, is irreducible complexity. Evolution acts by simplifying and cutting down more easily than by building up, so if some "reducibly complex" system evolved in any way at all, the further operation of evolution would reduce it until it could no longer be reduced without loss of function. Therefore, irreducibility should be unsurprising. We need to find ways to detect defunct scaffolding in DNA in order to establish that, and that has not been accomplished, but both sides in this debate have been stupid, evolutionists for denying that irreducible complexity exists and creationists for acting like it proves the existence of a creator.

    One technical point, on which both evolutionists and creationists have been foolish, is irreducible complexity. Evolution acts by simplifying and cutting down more easily than by building up, so if some “reducibly complex” system evolved in any way at all, the further operation of evolution would reduce it until it could no longer be reduced without loss of function.

    “If” being the most applicable term.

    Observable evolution is extremely inefficient. It most certainly does not concern itself with boozhwah like “irreducible complexity” because the forces and counter-forces collectively regarded as “evolution” are not dedicated to, nor constructed by, bullshit concepts that have no application. Evolution just plain does not care, because “evolution” is just the universe doing what it does.

    Evolution is not “survival of the fittest”. At most, it is “survival of the fit”, or possibly “Those who can survive sometimes do.” Adaptations that may be more effective in one environment may mean the end of a species when that environment changes, or the organisms are forced out of the niche by other organisms. There is no such thing as “superior” adaptive characteristics. The bar is low; any organism “good enough” gets by.

    Otherwise, if you prefer a nice little morality hook, we would be working as slaves to mayflies.

    Read More
    • Replies: @in the middle
    Evolution is not “survival of the fittest”. At most, it is “survival of the fit”

    Humans, and other living things constantly die, and survival is zero. Descendants are alive, who regardless of their 'fitness' will die and rot. so technically, no one survives!
    Death is 100 % victorious! Always wins, and what will be the end of this argument? Can we prove death exists? we can't see it, and yet has always beaten us so far. May be the evolutionist will say that its explained by physics, and replicated in the lab. Of course that is a joke, and who is laughing?
  19. @Shitposter Supreme
    I think you're proving his point pretty well, to be honest

    I think you’re proving his point pretty well, to be honest

    I think the alias you adopt proves a thousand “points” that aren’t worth investigating.

    Read More
  20. @PapayaSF
    I admit I've only read part of the essay, but a few points.

    From last year: Researchers Make Artificial Cells That Can Replicate Themselves

    The argument that it would take infinitely long amounts of time for evolution to produce results is flawed, because evolution is not merely randomness: it is randomness constrained by physical laws. The combination of those things can produce amazing complexity in much shorter timespans. A good book on this: Laws of the Game: How the Principles of Nature Govern Chance by Manfred Eigen and Ruthild Winkler

    The argument that it would take infinitely long amounts of time for evolution to produce results is flawed, because evolution is not merely randomness: it is randomness constrained by physical laws.

    Yes, and not to put too fine a point on it, but the most primal instance of an “organism” comes into existence with a great degree of selected characteristics dependent upon immediate circumstance. It is not simply “constrained by physical laws”; it has already incorporated yuuuuge numbers of selected traits.

    Evolution doesn’t even remotely approach a “random” playing field. Life on Earth is presented with a limited range of conditions under which “life” can exist. Move that primordial blob to Saturn … is it going to adapt? Does it have any traits at all that will keep it alive (and reproducing!) on Saturn?

    Evolutionary forces are by no means completely random and open-ended. A billion years is plenty of time when the number of factors is finite and rather sharply limited by actual conditions.

    Read More
  21. The Evolution of Bacteria on a “Mega-Plate” Petri Dish:

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Very good demonstration. And it points out what I believe to be the flaw in Fred's reasoning.

    As the piece demonstrated, the time sequence of evolutionary events takes the form of a tree. Any particular "choice" is predicated upon "decisions" made earlier in time. These earlier decisions are irrevocable. Each generation of organism built upon the adaptation of the previous generation. One must deal with the hand they are dealt. Evolution did not create the human eye in one leap; it began as was a patch of light-sensitive molecules in a cell--which is after all, the basis of vegetative life so that's no surprise.

    And yet Fred has a point. The transitions are difficult to model. In-between stages don't seem viable. There is a quantumness to evolution. This is the same problem confronting subatomic Physics. The relatively stable states of energy configurations can be modeled, it's the transitions that are intractable. What happens to the particles or packets of energy or geometry that had held them together when they break apart to accommodate new energy or particles before reassembling themselves into coherent patterns is too small and quick to determine. It's like the old Zen koan, "Where does your lap go when you stand up?"
  22. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @jim jones
    The Evolution of Bacteria on a “Mega-Plate” Petri Dish:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plVk4NVIUh8

    Very good demonstration. And it points out what I believe to be the flaw in Fred’s reasoning.

    As the piece demonstrated, the time sequence of evolutionary events takes the form of a tree. Any particular “choice” is predicated upon “decisions” made earlier in time. These earlier decisions are irrevocable. Each generation of organism built upon the adaptation of the previous generation. One must deal with the hand they are dealt. Evolution did not create the human eye in one leap; it began as was a patch of light-sensitive molecules in a cell–which is after all, the basis of vegetative life so that’s no surprise.

    And yet Fred has a point. The transitions are difficult to model. In-between stages don’t seem viable. There is a quantumness to evolution. This is the same problem confronting subatomic Physics. The relatively stable states of energy configurations can be modeled, it’s the transitions that are intractable. What happens to the particles or packets of energy or geometry that had held them together when they break apart to accommodate new energy or particles before reassembling themselves into coherent patterns is too small and quick to determine. It’s like the old Zen koan, “Where does your lap go when you stand up?”

    Read More
    • Replies: @John Jeremiah Smith

    There is a quantumness to evolution. This is the same problem confronting subatomic Physics. The relatively stable states of energy configurations can be modeled, it’s the transitions that are intractable.
     
    Isn't the proper term "quantumicality"? ;-)

    Personally, I'm not all that worried. For the present, we do not clearly understand changes in quantum states, as why? how? when? whuffo? and how come?

    Not to worry. We'll figure it out. And then we'll run into some other "wall". And we'll figure that one out, too. It's not like we're running out of time. We can blow ourselves back to the swamps a thousand times in the meanwhile. So what? Time, we've got.
  23. @Anonymous
    Very good demonstration. And it points out what I believe to be the flaw in Fred's reasoning.

    As the piece demonstrated, the time sequence of evolutionary events takes the form of a tree. Any particular "choice" is predicated upon "decisions" made earlier in time. These earlier decisions are irrevocable. Each generation of organism built upon the adaptation of the previous generation. One must deal with the hand they are dealt. Evolution did not create the human eye in one leap; it began as was a patch of light-sensitive molecules in a cell--which is after all, the basis of vegetative life so that's no surprise.

    And yet Fred has a point. The transitions are difficult to model. In-between stages don't seem viable. There is a quantumness to evolution. This is the same problem confronting subatomic Physics. The relatively stable states of energy configurations can be modeled, it's the transitions that are intractable. What happens to the particles or packets of energy or geometry that had held them together when they break apart to accommodate new energy or particles before reassembling themselves into coherent patterns is too small and quick to determine. It's like the old Zen koan, "Where does your lap go when you stand up?"

    There is a quantumness to evolution. This is the same problem confronting subatomic Physics. The relatively stable states of energy configurations can be modeled, it’s the transitions that are intractable.

    Isn’t the proper term “quantumicality”? ;-)

    Personally, I’m not all that worried. For the present, we do not clearly understand changes in quantum states, as why? how? when? whuffo? and how come?

    Not to worry. We’ll figure it out. And then we’ll run into some other “wall”. And we’ll figure that one out, too. It’s not like we’re running out of time. We can blow ourselves back to the swamps a thousand times in the meanwhile. So what? Time, we’ve got.

    Read More
  24. There really isn’t anything new here with Fred’s indictment of false science. Quite a number of scientists have published lamentations of scientific botulism. BG Wallace in his Farce of Physics, Thomas Phipps in numerous papers and his Old Physics for New. Newton has been exposed a number of times for his fabrications and leaps of conclusions with no scientific experimentation. The same goes for Galileo and others. Several highly celebrated “founders” of these “proven” theories published lamentations and even retractions, trying to get the scientific community to self correct. Among them were Hubble, Alfvén, Einstein, Darwin, and Freud (who actually confessed in his papers before he died he made it all up out of personal promotion). There isn’t a month go by I learn of fabrications in science, non-existent experiments, poorly executed experiments, data falsification, conclusions before facts or verification, and endless hypothesis built upon erroneous, speculative ideas predicated on the most glaring of fundamental mathematical procedure errors.

    Fred is just reiterating the discomfiture of those within the field who are appalled at the runaway pseudo-science of their colleagues. But what is really annoying is the reproduction of the same problem as science is fraught with by his drawing erroneous conclusions out of his ignorance of history. Fred really needs to spend a few years discharging the misconceptions, untruths, and downright propaganda purported as history he got from public education and the media. Then his observations and diatribes would have solid merit. As it is, his writing barely attains comic relief.

    Read More
    • Replies: @John Jeremiah Smith

    Fred is just reiterating the discomfiture of those within the field who are appalled at the runaway pseudo-science of their colleagues.
     
    Well, no. Fred did some championship point-missing, but he's never called it "pseudoscience". That term is a buzzword typically used by religious nutjobs.

    The study of evolution continues, and improves. The complete works of science, evolutionary theory and application remain the most effective description of the world around us and how it got this way.
  25. A simple proof for the existence of God:

    There is a need for a First Principle to isolate and discriminate the world that does exist from all possible worlds that could exist (the number of possible worlds are infinite by the way). The principle to isolate and discriminate the world that does exist has to resolve itself in an originating intention … God. This is a point of logic, mapping one-to-many relationships as the essence of functionality, which in turn is the basis for understanding and intelligibility.

    The principle of isolation and discrimination cannot resolve itself in an infinite regression of causes because that world would then only, at best, become one of an infinite number of possible worlds linked by an infinite regression of causes … which would likewise be in need of explanation.

    Please, no rejoinders that appeal to the Big Gang, which explains nothing with respect to First Principles. If you do make that appeal, please go back to the beginning of the proof and start over.

    Read More
  26. Great column, Fred. As to:
    Meanwhile the populations of black Africa, the civilizational equivalents of the unwed mother with an IQ of 60, grow rapidly. Which is to say that in advanced countries, reproduction of individuals is inversely proportional to circumstances favoring it–intelligence health, wealth, and education. Among nations, as noted, a similar phenomenon e

    the answer is quite simple. Historical population of sub-Saharan Africa was about 15 million. The current explosion of population is 100% a product of western medicine, technology, and food imports….When those disappear, as they inevitably will, the population will revert….assuming the Chinese haven’t taken over first, in which case the black population will revert.

    Second, the real third rail for academic dimwits is HBD, and specifically the fact that some breeding groups have inevitably evolved to be more intelligent (generally those who lived farther north), while others are superior in other aspects (the last 72 Olympic sprint finalists have been West African blacks). While the data on this are utterly conclusive, it violates the Cultural Marxism that pervades academia, and results in people like James Watson, Nobel Prize Winner, being fired and shunned by little brainwashed students.

    Read More
  27. @Rurik
    once you accept that it's impossible to know how the first DNA molecule came into existence, the rest seems fairly simple.

    we don't need to know how life started to understand how it evolves. The Neanderthals are gone because "we" killed them off and replaced them. Soon, we'll be replaced by AI, perhaps using some of the carbon based life forms to augment its evolution. Perhaps we'll morph into a kind of AI/organic synthesis.

    the way I see it, when people ask me where the missing link is, I say it's us. We're the missing link. We're poised between the animal world and the Gods. Much, much closer to the animals. We've only just began the trip to post-animal existence, and in 99.99999% of our existence, were 100% animal. (even if we don't always want to admit it)

    There's just a hint of the divine. And that hint is found in Fred's grasping attempt to understand his place in the universe. {which is the question that ultimately motivates both religion and science} To ask of his life, why? Animals don't self-reflect and wonder at why they exist, they simply do. Modern humans wonder why (or think they know), but the fact is, there is no why. That's the next hurdle in human cultural evolution. To understand that there is no why, and be comfortable with it. Indeed, to revel and exult in such knowledge.

    Personally when I hear people's angst and their squeamishness at the knowledge that we're only animals and are driven by instincts and chemicals and physics that we don't ultimately control with some kind of volitional free will, I want to tell them 'yes! and how wonderful is that?!' You see if we weren't put here by the Gods, or some God, or aliens, but rather have simply come to exist by some quirk of the universe, and are really animals, and automatons driven by instincts to eat and roam and fuck and frolic, enjoying all the fruits of the senses and all the wonders of life, just for the fun of it, well then how cool is that?!

    We humans are incredibly unlikely accidents, and we're not beholding to anyone or anything, least of all some God or Gods. (perhaps that's one of the real glories of living after the Renaissance and the age of science) We're free to revel in life, and be amazed at the singular miracle of our existence. Every breath is a treasure, once you come to understand the unlikelihood of it all. Not only that we exist, but that we're able to look at ourselves and be aware of ourselves and indeed, marvel at it all.

    If we were put here by a God, who expected us to worship Him and pay homage to Him and crawl on our bellies in humility and fear of Him, then that's not too fun. But if we were an infinitesimally unlikely accident, of, as Fred mentions, to the n'th degree, now wow, what great luck!

    As for consciousness, what it is, is the unlikely benefit of having such a large brain, that as you're out foraging for food, (going to work), or seeking a mate- unlike most of the animal kingdom, they're unaware of these instincts (and hormones and enzymes and dendrites and synapsis) all firing and flowing and functioning and tweaking our sense of ourselves, as we (these machines that we are) live in this incredible world, we (almost alone, with the dolphins and other advanced life forms) are able to be aware of it all, and as we feel it, we're also able to reflect on it all. It's a byproduct of the functioning of our brains, that we have this amazing thing called consciousness, that allows us to reflect on it all, and be aware that we're going through this phenomena called living.

    It's incredible. No?

    Those are just a few of my thoughts on all this.

    I like these kinds of conversations.

    But I would prefer to take the issues one by one, so to speak. Not that it wasn't fun to comment on this.

    “Personally when I hear people’s angst and their squeamishness at the knowledge that we’re only animals and are driven by instincts and chemicals and physics that we don’t ultimately control with some kind of volitional free will, I want to tell them ‘yes! and how wonderful is that?!’ You see if we weren’t put here by the Gods, or some God, or aliens, but rather have simply come to exist by some quirk of the universe, and are really animals, and automatons driven by instincts to eat and roam and fuck and frolic, enjoying all the fruits of the senses and all the wonders of life, just for the fun of it, well then how cool is that?! ”

    I’m tempted to adhere but have two concerns.

    1) For some of us, the deprivation of the world of the intellect as well as of purpose would deprive life of meaning twice over, and the absence of meaning or, as you say, the acceptance of lack of meaning, must mean suicide. We therefore sustain ourselves with the illusion of meaning.

    2) Not unrelated, it is worth noting that the world open to the senses alone is as much full of pain and disease, injury and torment as well as fruits, as many terrors if not horrors as of wonders. Even those that might be expected to be of transitory nature with a full recovery in the offing can be hellish to endure, and the prospect of renewed frolicking an insufficient source of strength to endure them.

    Somewhat separately, the wonders of life and the tools by which we stave off its horrors have been enormously enhanced by the efforts of people pursuing deeper meaning than frolic only, giving us just enough knowledge of science to create a world far more comfortable than any state of nature ever was.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Rurik

    1) For some of us, the deprivation of the world of the intellect as well as of purpose would deprive life of meaning twice over, and the absence of meaning or, as you say, the acceptance of lack of meaning, must mean suicide. We therefore sustain ourselves with the illusion of meaning.
     
    "meaning"

    do we get meaning for our lives by telling ourselves that we were put here by a deity (or deities or some other agent) who put us here for a purpose? Is that the only way our lives can have meaning? And please consider, what most of these Gods want and indeed, expect from us is homage. Just like a tribal chieftain. That's what they demand. Fealty and submission to them for their generosity for having created us and this world, so that we can either pass the test by prostrating ourselves to them, and forsaking the material world for an ascetic life devoid of the animal pleasures of being alive. And always with some earthly representative to collect the tithes.

    For me, that sounds like a life of torture.

    We have one shot at this. We were blessed with this chance at existence by providence, (but not necessarily a God) and if we blow it by rejecting it and all its bounty, why then we'll have certainly have committed the greatest sin there is.

    why can't we find meaning in the sunrise, and a gentle kiss from our loved one? Why isn't there adequate meaning in the smile of our child or the devoted love from our dog? The sound of the ocean waves crashing on the sand, or from a sublime work of art. Why must meaning only come from blind servility to a (often tyrannical) deity? What's wrong with getting meaning from the simple understanding and appreciation that we were blessed with this unlikely (miraculous) existence in a universe that is far more vast that we could ever comprehend in a thousand lifetimes, and filled with infinite nothingness and gases and rocks and exploding suns. The chances of such a planet as earth and the unlikely miracle of the advent of DNA (life itself) even in this galaxy (with billions of stars and billions of planets) is incredibly remote. And we! were born (evolved) on this miraculous earth, with its water and temperate climate. It's so fantastically improbable that we should greet every morning with a heartfelt benediction, not to a (man-made) jealous God, who wants us to fall to our knees and beg forgiveness for our existence, but rather to the amazingly wonderful thing that has happened.

    When people say they want you to thank some God or Gods for our life, what they're trying to do is tell you that the gift of life is something you don't own. It isn't yours to do with as you please. Rather it was given to you under certain conditions, and that you have to toe the line in order to fulfill your end of the bargain. This always amounts to service of some kind, and sacrifice on your part, to this God's earthly representatives. Isn't that something? God has anointed certain of his mortals to be his tax collectors, and his proxies for you to bow down to. Have you ever wondered about that? Why does God need proxies?

    Anyways, I don't want to get into all that. I just want to point out that being mortal is a great gift (that you don't have to be ashamed of or indebted for). That having this chance at life is an ineffable and wondrous thing. Just because we're not in possession of some kind of infinity of choices that would mean we possess a "Free" Will, is no reason to pooh-pooh our experience of life. It's just as wondrous and has even far more meaning when you come to appreciate how tenuous and fragile and precious it all really is. IMHO

    you want to know what Free Will really is? It's a parent telling you to behave- or else. They're saying 'you chose to eat that cookie when I said not to, and so now you must be punished'. It's the same thing from the church and state. They're saying 'we are telling you how to act and how to think and what to believe, and if you defy us, it's because you choose to, and therefor you deserve to burn in hell for ever and ever and ever with pitchforks shoved up your arse. It's all about control, and submission and domination. And they will be the dominators thankyouverymuch.

    I truly belive that once you come to appreciate that we are no more than animals, just like the rest of the animal kingdom, that what happens is you are able to walk back into the garden of Eden, and realize that all these other wonderful creatures are your cousins, and made of flesh and blood, just like you. And that interpreting a smile on a dog, is not some anthropomorphic act of projecting your emotions onto a unfeeling object; an "animal", but rather you're actually able to share a genuine smile and all the meaning behind it across species. It's just as real for the dog as it is for you. And no one says dogs are divine, but they obviously are made of the same things we are. If we were created by a God, then so are they. If we are different from them, then the difference if one of degree, not of kind.

    In all of this and more, I find abundant meaning in my life without having to beg forgiveness for my existence from any Gods. Rather I revel in it. I own it. It's mine to do with as I please, and I owe no one or no God any gratitude for it. And believing thus, I suspect that I'm nevertheless one of the most grateful people to be alive that I know.
    , @Rurik

    the wonders of life and the tools by which we stave off its horrors have been enormously enhanced by the efforts of people pursuing deeper meaning than frolic only, giving us just enough knowledge of science to create a world far more comfortable than any state of nature ever was
     
    well I never suggested that we should only frolic

    life isn't like that, and that's not how we're made. Rather we should do all the things that make our and other's lives better. That's part of being what and who we are. That's what brings us great joy and deep satisfaction.

    And I reject the notion that the progress humans have made have been done so out of fealty to any deity. Indeed, most of the horrors that we've visited upon our fellow man thoughout the centuries have been out of religious intolerance, as we witness today in so many places. (Palestine, Syria, Kashmir, even Northern Ireland is still simmering)

    the men who've brought us modern medicine and all the other wonders of our modern world did so mostly during the age of science.
  28. There must be a God. Fred is 70 by my calculations and still cranking out 4 wormers at the bottom of the bottles per sitting. I’m only sixty something and had to give up my yeast piss habit completely.

    Read More
    • Replies: @in the middle
    Mir. Lassiter:

    I am totally convinced that there is Creator. If it was not so, life would be unbearable. I was told once that there are not atheist in combat.
    We believers see the world in mortal combat, not to win an argument, but to win people with simplicity and love. When some one tells me '4 billion years ago' I instantly lift the BS flat. No human being can for sure say that phrase without causing consternation; I can hardly believe that there are people who cannot close their mind when they hear such an absurdity! When I am told, 'the Roman empire', then I pay attention ,because there are vestiges of it. Also British Empire, and now the American Empire. So with that said, when I read the NT, which is what I believe, people, places and occurrences are verifiable. Merely 2 thousand years ago and believable, during the age of the Roman Empire.
    And yes, there is not such thing as 'Judeo-Christian' thingy. As far is the east from the west, is Judeo/Talmudism from NT Christianity!
    Talmudism and Churchianity might be close, especially with the current Zionist Preachers in Churchianity, but not to Christianity. Get over it.
  29. @Klokman
    There really isn't anything new here with Fred's indictment of false science. Quite a number of scientists have published lamentations of scientific botulism. BG Wallace in his Farce of Physics, Thomas Phipps in numerous papers and his Old Physics for New. Newton has been exposed a number of times for his fabrications and leaps of conclusions with no scientific experimentation. The same goes for Galileo and others. Several highly celebrated "founders" of these "proven" theories published lamentations and even retractions, trying to get the scientific community to self correct. Among them were Hubble, Alfvén, Einstein, Darwin, and Freud (who actually confessed in his papers before he died he made it all up out of personal promotion). There isn't a month go by I learn of fabrications in science, non-existent experiments, poorly executed experiments, data falsification, conclusions before facts or verification, and endless hypothesis built upon erroneous, speculative ideas predicated on the most glaring of fundamental mathematical procedure errors.

    Fred is just reiterating the discomfiture of those within the field who are appalled at the runaway pseudo-science of their colleagues. But what is really annoying is the reproduction of the same problem as science is fraught with by his drawing erroneous conclusions out of his ignorance of history. Fred really needs to spend a few years discharging the misconceptions, untruths, and downright propaganda purported as history he got from public education and the media. Then his observations and diatribes would have solid merit. As it is, his writing barely attains comic relief.

    Fred is just reiterating the discomfiture of those within the field who are appalled at the runaway pseudo-science of their colleagues.

    Well, no. Fred did some championship point-missing, but he’s never called it “pseudoscience”. That term is a buzzword typically used by religious nutjobs.

    The study of evolution continues, and improves. The complete works of science, evolutionary theory and application remain the most effective description of the world around us and how it got this way.

    Read More
  30. @TheJester
    A simple proof for the existence of God:

    There is a need for a First Principle to isolate and discriminate the world that does exist from all possible worlds that could exist (the number of possible worlds are infinite by the way). The principle to isolate and discriminate the world that does exist has to resolve itself in an originating intention ... God. This is a point of logic, mapping one-to-many relationships as the essence of functionality, which in turn is the basis for understanding and intelligibility.

    The principle of isolation and discrimination cannot resolve itself in an infinite regression of causes because that world would then only, at best, become one of an infinite number of possible worlds linked by an infinite regression of causes ... which would likewise be in need of explanation.

    Please, no rejoinders that appeal to the Big Gang, which explains nothing with respect to First Principles. If you do make that appeal, please go back to the beginning of the proof and start over.

    Fail.

    Read More
  31. @John Jeremiah Smith
    Too long, and a persistent form and repetition of logical failure. Break it up, make it 10 focused essays.

    Science sometimes explains things, but the true essence of science is to describe the world around us. A proof for how "life" came into existence is not a requirement that any of many evolutionary science specialties are required to provide. Sorry.

    I admit to being a bit surprised, and disappointed, that Fred Reed seems to believe that evolutionary studies must trot out proof that life began spontaneously. How come evolutionists have to explain exactly how life happened, and creationists just say "God did it" and they're home free, so to speak? Burden of proof and all, ya know? At the very least, Fred should demand the same level of explanation and proof, da? Heck, don't even get yourself worked up about proving God exists -- just prove God created life, huh? 'Cause assuming God did it is not proof, any more than assuming that life happened spontaneously from interactions of chemical compounds is proof.

    While you're at it, explain where God came from. But, when all is said and done, why bother? Why not let religion be religion, and science be science? Religion explains; science describes.

    Agree with shitposter.
    You are the posterchild of Freds article.

    Read More
    • Replies: @John Jeremiah Smith

    Agree with shitposter.
    You are the posterchild of Freds article.
     
    Will you faggots mooning over who gets the most attention from me get a goddamn LIFE already?
  32. @Rurik
    once you accept that it's impossible to know how the first DNA molecule came into existence, the rest seems fairly simple.

    we don't need to know how life started to understand how it evolves. The Neanderthals are gone because "we" killed them off and replaced them. Soon, we'll be replaced by AI, perhaps using some of the carbon based life forms to augment its evolution. Perhaps we'll morph into a kind of AI/organic synthesis.

    the way I see it, when people ask me where the missing link is, I say it's us. We're the missing link. We're poised between the animal world and the Gods. Much, much closer to the animals. We've only just began the trip to post-animal existence, and in 99.99999% of our existence, were 100% animal. (even if we don't always want to admit it)

    There's just a hint of the divine. And that hint is found in Fred's grasping attempt to understand his place in the universe. {which is the question that ultimately motivates both religion and science} To ask of his life, why? Animals don't self-reflect and wonder at why they exist, they simply do. Modern humans wonder why (or think they know), but the fact is, there is no why. That's the next hurdle in human cultural evolution. To understand that there is no why, and be comfortable with it. Indeed, to revel and exult in such knowledge.

    Personally when I hear people's angst and their squeamishness at the knowledge that we're only animals and are driven by instincts and chemicals and physics that we don't ultimately control with some kind of volitional free will, I want to tell them 'yes! and how wonderful is that?!' You see if we weren't put here by the Gods, or some God, or aliens, but rather have simply come to exist by some quirk of the universe, and are really animals, and automatons driven by instincts to eat and roam and fuck and frolic, enjoying all the fruits of the senses and all the wonders of life, just for the fun of it, well then how cool is that?!

    We humans are incredibly unlikely accidents, and we're not beholding to anyone or anything, least of all some God or Gods. (perhaps that's one of the real glories of living after the Renaissance and the age of science) We're free to revel in life, and be amazed at the singular miracle of our existence. Every breath is a treasure, once you come to understand the unlikelihood of it all. Not only that we exist, but that we're able to look at ourselves and be aware of ourselves and indeed, marvel at it all.

    If we were put here by a God, who expected us to worship Him and pay homage to Him and crawl on our bellies in humility and fear of Him, then that's not too fun. But if we were an infinitesimally unlikely accident, of, as Fred mentions, to the n'th degree, now wow, what great luck!

    As for consciousness, what it is, is the unlikely benefit of having such a large brain, that as you're out foraging for food, (going to work), or seeking a mate- unlike most of the animal kingdom, they're unaware of these instincts (and hormones and enzymes and dendrites and synapsis) all firing and flowing and functioning and tweaking our sense of ourselves, as we (these machines that we are) live in this incredible world, we (almost alone, with the dolphins and other advanced life forms) are able to be aware of it all, and as we feel it, we're also able to reflect on it all. It's a byproduct of the functioning of our brains, that we have this amazing thing called consciousness, that allows us to reflect on it all, and be aware that we're going through this phenomena called living.

    It's incredible. No?

    Those are just a few of my thoughts on all this.

    I like these kinds of conversations.

    But I would prefer to take the issues one by one, so to speak. Not that it wasn't fun to comment on this.

    To Freds point,
    How does a simpler “thing” evolve to a more complicated one ?
    How does eyesight or hearing evolve from the blind and deaf ?
    There could be no result to something there was no previous concept of.
    If that genetic information was already there, why did it remain dormant or who put it there ?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    I suggest you read some books or attend some lectures about evolution for a start.
  33. @boogerbently
    Agree with shitposter.
    You are the posterchild of Freds article.

    Agree with shitposter.
    You are the posterchild of Freds article.

    Will you faggots mooning over who gets the most attention from me get a goddamn LIFE already?

    Read More
  34. @John Jeremiah Smith
    Too long, and a persistent form and repetition of logical failure. Break it up, make it 10 focused essays.

    Science sometimes explains things, but the true essence of science is to describe the world around us. A proof for how "life" came into existence is not a requirement that any of many evolutionary science specialties are required to provide. Sorry.

    I admit to being a bit surprised, and disappointed, that Fred Reed seems to believe that evolutionary studies must trot out proof that life began spontaneously. How come evolutionists have to explain exactly how life happened, and creationists just say "God did it" and they're home free, so to speak? Burden of proof and all, ya know? At the very least, Fred should demand the same level of explanation and proof, da? Heck, don't even get yourself worked up about proving God exists -- just prove God created life, huh? 'Cause assuming God did it is not proof, any more than assuming that life happened spontaneously from interactions of chemical compounds is proof.

    While you're at it, explain where God came from. But, when all is said and done, why bother? Why not let religion be religion, and science be science? Religion explains; science describes.

    Hey JJS,

    Why not let religion be religion, and science be science? Religion explains; science describes.

    That was short and sweet and to the point (those that are in one professional sphere should be humble enough to not overstep their bounds – this goes for both sides) – I’m going to borrow that one if you don’t mind. :)

    Peace.

    Read More
  35. @random observer
    "Personally when I hear people’s angst and their squeamishness at the knowledge that we’re only animals and are driven by instincts and chemicals and physics that we don’t ultimately control with some kind of volitional free will, I want to tell them ‘yes! and how wonderful is that?!’ You see if we weren’t put here by the Gods, or some God, or aliens, but rather have simply come to exist by some quirk of the universe, and are really animals, and automatons driven by instincts to eat and roam and fuck and frolic, enjoying all the fruits of the senses and all the wonders of life, just for the fun of it, well then how cool is that?! "

    I'm tempted to adhere but have two concerns.

    1) For some of us, the deprivation of the world of the intellect as well as of purpose would deprive life of meaning twice over, and the absence of meaning or, as you say, the acceptance of lack of meaning, must mean suicide. We therefore sustain ourselves with the illusion of meaning.

    2) Not unrelated, it is worth noting that the world open to the senses alone is as much full of pain and disease, injury and torment as well as fruits, as many terrors if not horrors as of wonders. Even those that might be expected to be of transitory nature with a full recovery in the offing can be hellish to endure, and the prospect of renewed frolicking an insufficient source of strength to endure them.

    Somewhat separately, the wonders of life and the tools by which we stave off its horrors have been enormously enhanced by the efforts of people pursuing deeper meaning than frolic only, giving us just enough knowledge of science to create a world far more comfortable than any state of nature ever was.

    1) For some of us, the deprivation of the world of the intellect as well as of purpose would deprive life of meaning twice over, and the absence of meaning or, as you say, the acceptance of lack of meaning, must mean suicide. We therefore sustain ourselves with the illusion of meaning.

    “meaning”

    do we get meaning for our lives by telling ourselves that we were put here by a deity (or deities or some other agent) who put us here for a purpose? Is that the only way our lives can have meaning? And please consider, what most of these Gods want and indeed, expect from us is homage. Just like a tribal chieftain. That’s what they demand. Fealty and submission to them for their generosity for having created us and this world, so that we can either pass the test by prostrating ourselves to them, and forsaking the material world for an ascetic life devoid of the animal pleasures of being alive. And always with some earthly representative to collect the tithes.

    For me, that sounds like a life of torture.

    We have one shot at this. We were blessed with this chance at existence by providence, (but not necessarily a God) and if we blow it by rejecting it and all its bounty, why then we’ll have certainly have committed the greatest sin there is.

    why can’t we find meaning in the sunrise, and a gentle kiss from our loved one? Why isn’t there adequate meaning in the smile of our child or the devoted love from our dog? The sound of the ocean waves crashing on the sand, or from a sublime work of art. Why must meaning only come from blind servility to a (often tyrannical) deity? What’s wrong with getting meaning from the simple understanding and appreciation that we were blessed with this unlikely (miraculous) existence in a universe that is far more vast that we could ever comprehend in a thousand lifetimes, and filled with infinite nothingness and gases and rocks and exploding suns. The chances of such a planet as earth and the unlikely miracle of the advent of DNA (life itself) even in this galaxy (with billions of stars and billions of planets) is incredibly remote. And we! were born (evolved) on this miraculous earth, with its water and temperate climate. It’s so fantastically improbable that we should greet every morning with a heartfelt benediction, not to a (man-made) jealous God, who wants us to fall to our knees and beg forgiveness for our existence, but rather to the amazingly wonderful thing that has happened.

    When people say they want you to thank some God or Gods for our life, what they’re trying to do is tell you that the gift of life is something you don’t own. It isn’t yours to do with as you please. Rather it was given to you under certain conditions, and that you have to toe the line in order to fulfill your end of the bargain. This always amounts to service of some kind, and sacrifice on your part, to this God’s earthly representatives. Isn’t that something? God has anointed certain of his mortals to be his tax collectors, and his proxies for you to bow down to. Have you ever wondered about that? Why does God need proxies?

    Anyways, I don’t want to get into all that. I just want to point out that being mortal is a great gift (that you don’t have to be ashamed of or indebted for). That having this chance at life is an ineffable and wondrous thing. Just because we’re not in possession of some kind of infinity of choices that would mean we possess a “Free” Will, is no reason to pooh-pooh our experience of life. It’s just as wondrous and has even far more meaning when you come to appreciate how tenuous and fragile and precious it all really is. IMHO

    you want to know what Free Will really is? It’s a parent telling you to behave- or else. They’re saying ‘you chose to eat that cookie when I said not to, and so now you must be punished’. It’s the same thing from the church and state. They’re saying ‘we are telling you how to act and how to think and what to believe, and if you defy us, it’s because you choose to, and therefor you deserve to burn in hell for ever and ever and ever with pitchforks shoved up your arse. It’s all about control, and submission and domination. And they will be the dominators thankyouverymuch.

    I truly belive that once you come to appreciate that we are no more than animals, just like the rest of the animal kingdom, that what happens is you are able to walk back into the garden of Eden, and realize that all these other wonderful creatures are your cousins, and made of flesh and blood, just like you. And that interpreting a smile on a dog, is not some anthropomorphic act of projecting your emotions onto a unfeeling object; an “animal”, but rather you’re actually able to share a genuine smile and all the meaning behind it across species. It’s just as real for the dog as it is for you. And no one says dogs are divine, but they obviously are made of the same things we are. If we were created by a God, then so are they. If we are different from them, then the difference if one of degree, not of kind.

    In all of this and more, I find abundant meaning in my life without having to beg forgiveness for my existence from any Gods. Rather I revel in it. I own it. It’s mine to do with as I please, and I owe no one or no God any gratitude for it. And believing thus, I suspect that I’m nevertheless one of the most grateful people to be alive that I know.

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    • Replies: @Stonehands
    "you want to know what Free Will really is? It’s a parent telling you to behave- or else. They’re saying ‘you chose to eat that cookie when I said not to, and so now you must be punished’. It’s the same thing from the church and state. They’re saying ‘we are telling you how to act and how to think and what to believe, and if you defy us, it’s because you choose to, and therefor you deserve to burn in hell for ever and ever and ever with pitchforks shoved up your arse. It’s all about control, and submission and domination. And they will be the dominators thankyouverymuch. "


    You are right. It is just like a parent telling a child what to do. To be raised up in Godliness and not gluttony.
    The same with a Christian education. To foresake the pleasures of the flesh, for the renewal of the mind in Christ Jesus.

    Bible believing Germans settled an area of Philadelphia that is now a disgraceful hellpit, inhabited by the results of 3 generations of scripture being banned from your communist school system.I invite you to come "frolic" with some of the godless natives in Germantown and
    Norfphillynigga....

    Gods not interested in you purchasing indulgences [tithes] for your sins, he seeks repentence.

    After all this isn't about you- its about service to others.
  36. @random observer
    "Personally when I hear people’s angst and their squeamishness at the knowledge that we’re only animals and are driven by instincts and chemicals and physics that we don’t ultimately control with some kind of volitional free will, I want to tell them ‘yes! and how wonderful is that?!’ You see if we weren’t put here by the Gods, or some God, or aliens, but rather have simply come to exist by some quirk of the universe, and are really animals, and automatons driven by instincts to eat and roam and fuck and frolic, enjoying all the fruits of the senses and all the wonders of life, just for the fun of it, well then how cool is that?! "

    I'm tempted to adhere but have two concerns.

    1) For some of us, the deprivation of the world of the intellect as well as of purpose would deprive life of meaning twice over, and the absence of meaning or, as you say, the acceptance of lack of meaning, must mean suicide. We therefore sustain ourselves with the illusion of meaning.

    2) Not unrelated, it is worth noting that the world open to the senses alone is as much full of pain and disease, injury and torment as well as fruits, as many terrors if not horrors as of wonders. Even those that might be expected to be of transitory nature with a full recovery in the offing can be hellish to endure, and the prospect of renewed frolicking an insufficient source of strength to endure them.

    Somewhat separately, the wonders of life and the tools by which we stave off its horrors have been enormously enhanced by the efforts of people pursuing deeper meaning than frolic only, giving us just enough knowledge of science to create a world far more comfortable than any state of nature ever was.

    the wonders of life and the tools by which we stave off its horrors have been enormously enhanced by the efforts of people pursuing deeper meaning than frolic only, giving us just enough knowledge of science to create a world far more comfortable than any state of nature ever was

    well I never suggested that we should only frolic

    life isn’t like that, and that’s not how we’re made. Rather we should do all the things that make our and other’s lives better. That’s part of being what and who we are. That’s what brings us great joy and deep satisfaction.

    And I reject the notion that the progress humans have made have been done so out of fealty to any deity. Indeed, most of the horrors that we’ve visited upon our fellow man thoughout the centuries have been out of religious intolerance, as we witness today in so many places. (Palestine, Syria, Kashmir, even Northern Ireland is still simmering)

    the men who’ve brought us modern medicine and all the other wonders of our modern world did so mostly during the age of science.

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    • Replies: @John Jeremiah Smith

    And I reject the notion that the progress humans have made have been done so out of fealty to any deity. Indeed, most of the horrors that we’ve visited upon our fellow man thoughout the centuries have been out of religious intolerance, as we witness today in so many places.
     
    God's track record kinda sucks, doesn't it? If we were being honest with ourselves, and we were picking sides, would the true human be on "God's" side, all prior demonstration being considered? Oh, hell no.
  37. In all of this and more, I find abundant meaning in my life without having to beg forgiveness for my existence from any Gods.

    Back in ’63, when TIME magazine was relevant, they ran a frontpage article premised with “Is God Dead?” It was, predictably, filled with the usual hoo-hoo that Believers pretending to be neutral put forth as significant prose. Garbage, that is.

    God isn’t dead. God isn’t real. God has never been real. The universe is not a creation. The meaning of life is what you want it to be; millions of people have millions of different perceptions of the awe-inspiring, totes-mystical “meaning of life”. For me, it’s a mission. So sue me.

    “God” is a failed concept.

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    • Replies: @Rurik

    The meaning of life is what you want it to be
     
    yep

    if you must believe in a hereafter, then go ahead. I suppose a lot of people are comforted by such notions, (my late parents among them). I respect people's need for a spiritual connection to eternity, and their need to feel like their minds, (or their consciousness or ego or whatever) is of a divine nature and will endure after their bodies quit. All that is fine.

    But in a r0ugh and tumble debate over it, on a secular website where such questions should be dealt with in harsh reality terms, I see no reason to pretend that all these (competing) religions and Gods are anything but man's creations.

    “Man is stark mad; he cannot make a flea, and yet he will be making gods by the dozens.”

    ―Michel de Montaigne

    there are so many Gods out there, and to believe in most of them means you don't believe in the others. So when it comes to all these Gods, I simply believe in one less than most people do.

    (I think I read something from Michael Rivero like that)

    I don't disbelieve in God or the Gods or whatever, but to this day, I certainly haven't seen any evidence of one, or any persuasive arguments that any exist. They might, just like aliens and ghosts and other things that people are passionately determined exist, but I've never seen any good evidence of any of those, and I like to have some reason for thinking something exists, other than someone (often in unusual clothing) says so.

    Also as you note, when men are jealously determined to see the breath and scope of their particular God's jurisdiction increase in territory, they often encounter harsh resistance from the men whose Gods are keen to keep their supplicants under their thrall.

    Humans have a spiritual need to believe in something greater than themselves, but all too often this innocent proclivity is cynically abused by charlatans and rulers for their own personal (and often nefarious) agendas
    , @in the middle
    Sir.

    you are entitled to your own opinion, and I will fight to give you that right.

    The universe is not a creation

    so what it is? our mushroom enhanced mind imagination? Because I look up at night and are in awe looking at all those 'non created lights' way up in the dark sky. Oh my silly imagination! Imagining lights hanging up there in the 'firmament'. Must be the mushrooms I ate for dinner.
  38. @Rurik

    the wonders of life and the tools by which we stave off its horrors have been enormously enhanced by the efforts of people pursuing deeper meaning than frolic only, giving us just enough knowledge of science to create a world far more comfortable than any state of nature ever was
     
    well I never suggested that we should only frolic

    life isn't like that, and that's not how we're made. Rather we should do all the things that make our and other's lives better. That's part of being what and who we are. That's what brings us great joy and deep satisfaction.

    And I reject the notion that the progress humans have made have been done so out of fealty to any deity. Indeed, most of the horrors that we've visited upon our fellow man thoughout the centuries have been out of religious intolerance, as we witness today in so many places. (Palestine, Syria, Kashmir, even Northern Ireland is still simmering)

    the men who've brought us modern medicine and all the other wonders of our modern world did so mostly during the age of science.

    And I reject the notion that the progress humans have made have been done so out of fealty to any deity. Indeed, most of the horrors that we’ve visited upon our fellow man thoughout the centuries have been out of religious intolerance, as we witness today in so many places.

    God’s track record kinda sucks, doesn’t it? If we were being honest with ourselves, and we were picking sides, would the true human be on “God’s” side, all prior demonstration being considered? Oh, hell no.

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    • Replies: @Harry Palms
    Ha that's a ridiculous comment, reminds me of those teenage commies who say "capitalism doesn't work" while posting on their I-phones in Starbucks wearing clothes and enjoying a 79 year lifespan. Religious intolerance has absolutely nothing to do with God, it's all from our human imperfection and stupidity.
  39. @John Jeremiah Smith

    In all of this and more, I find abundant meaning in my life without having to beg forgiveness for my existence from any Gods.
     
    Back in '63, when TIME magazine was relevant, they ran a frontpage article premised with "Is God Dead?" It was, predictably, filled with the usual hoo-hoo that Believers pretending to be neutral put forth as significant prose. Garbage, that is.

    God isn't dead. God isn't real. God has never been real. The universe is not a creation. The meaning of life is what you want it to be; millions of people have millions of different perceptions of the awe-inspiring, totes-mystical "meaning of life". For me, it's a mission. So sue me.

    "God" is a failed concept.

    The meaning of life is what you want it to be

    yep

    if you must believe in a hereafter, then go ahead. I suppose a lot of people are comforted by such notions, (my late parents among them). I respect people’s need for a spiritual connection to eternity, and their need to feel like their minds, (or their consciousness or ego or whatever) is of a divine nature and will endure after their bodies quit. All that is fine.

    But in a r0ugh and tumble debate over it, on a secular website where such questions should be dealt with in harsh reality terms, I see no reason to pretend that all these (competing) religions and Gods are anything but man’s creations.

    “Man is stark mad; he cannot make a flea, and yet he will be making gods by the dozens.”

    ―Michel de Montaigne

    there are so many Gods out there, and to believe in most of them means you don’t believe in the others. So when it comes to all these Gods, I simply believe in one less than most people do.

    (I think I read something from Michael Rivero like that)

    I don’t disbelieve in God or the Gods or whatever, but to this day, I certainly haven’t seen any evidence of one, or any persuasive arguments that any exist. They might, just like aliens and ghosts and other things that people are passionately determined exist, but I’ve never seen any good evidence of any of those, and I like to have some reason for thinking something exists, other than someone (often in unusual clothing) says so.

    Also as you note, when men are jealously determined to see the breath and scope of their particular God’s jurisdiction increase in territory, they often encounter harsh resistance from the men whose Gods are keen to keep their supplicants under their thrall.

    Humans have a spiritual need to believe in something greater than themselves, but all too often this innocent proclivity is cynically abused by charlatans and rulers for their own personal (and often nefarious) agendas

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    • Replies: @John Jeremiah Smith

    I don’t disbelieve in God or the Gods or whatever, but to this day, I certainly haven’t seen any evidence of one, or any persuasive arguments that any exist.
     
    Me either, not even close.

    I hope I didn't read it somewhere, then forget, but that posting above seems to my memory to be my first recognition/acceptance of "God is a failed concept". I suspect most of that stems from awareness that our definitions of God are founded in an inseparable, very human attachment to what we see as the "material world", coupled to an inadequate imagining of what might lie beyond our perceptions and our abilities. Further, the conventional notions ... "concept greater than all other concepts" ... constructed from whole cloth like "immortal, omniscient, omnipresent, immanent, omnipotent, eternal" become weaker and weaker sauce with each ascending spiral. It's not just a case of semantic breakdown; we really can't truly comprehend things that transcend our universe, our framework within which we attempt "understanding".
  40. @Rurik

    The meaning of life is what you want it to be
     
    yep

    if you must believe in a hereafter, then go ahead. I suppose a lot of people are comforted by such notions, (my late parents among them). I respect people's need for a spiritual connection to eternity, and their need to feel like their minds, (or their consciousness or ego or whatever) is of a divine nature and will endure after their bodies quit. All that is fine.

    But in a r0ugh and tumble debate over it, on a secular website where such questions should be dealt with in harsh reality terms, I see no reason to pretend that all these (competing) religions and Gods are anything but man's creations.

    “Man is stark mad; he cannot make a flea, and yet he will be making gods by the dozens.”

    ―Michel de Montaigne

    there are so many Gods out there, and to believe in most of them means you don't believe in the others. So when it comes to all these Gods, I simply believe in one less than most people do.

    (I think I read something from Michael Rivero like that)

    I don't disbelieve in God or the Gods or whatever, but to this day, I certainly haven't seen any evidence of one, or any persuasive arguments that any exist. They might, just like aliens and ghosts and other things that people are passionately determined exist, but I've never seen any good evidence of any of those, and I like to have some reason for thinking something exists, other than someone (often in unusual clothing) says so.

    Also as you note, when men are jealously determined to see the breath and scope of their particular God's jurisdiction increase in territory, they often encounter harsh resistance from the men whose Gods are keen to keep their supplicants under their thrall.

    Humans have a spiritual need to believe in something greater than themselves, but all too often this innocent proclivity is cynically abused by charlatans and rulers for their own personal (and often nefarious) agendas

    I don’t disbelieve in God or the Gods or whatever, but to this day, I certainly haven’t seen any evidence of one, or any persuasive arguments that any exist.

    Me either, not even close.

    I hope I didn’t read it somewhere, then forget, but that posting above seems to my memory to be my first recognition/acceptance of “God is a failed concept”. I suspect most of that stems from awareness that our definitions of God are founded in an inseparable, very human attachment to what we see as the “material world”, coupled to an inadequate imagining of what might lie beyond our perceptions and our abilities. Further, the conventional notions … “concept greater than all other concepts” … constructed from whole cloth like “immortal, omniscient, omnipresent, immanent, omnipotent, eternal” become weaker and weaker sauce with each ascending spiral. It’s not just a case of semantic breakdown; we really can’t truly comprehend things that transcend our universe, our framework within which we attempt “understanding”.

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  41. Oh my. Someone has been at the absinthe. Or perhaps, not been enough at the absinthe…

    So here is a simple answer. Consider the law of gravitation. Gravity is so simple: the inverse square law. With just two masses, the answers are trivial. With three masses? Even today, incalculable. With a thousand masses? The resonances of the moons of saturn with all those ice particles in the rings taxes current supercomputers to their limits.

    Evolution. It sounds so simple. Survivors survive. But from such a simple basis – the ramifications are beyond the ability of the mortal mind to comprehend, at least, not completely.

    I am not a catholic, but I once talked to a catholic priest about evolution. He said ‘how wonderful to grasp the mind of God, however incompletely.’

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  42. @boogerbently
    To Freds point,
    How does a simpler "thing" evolve to a more complicated one ?
    How does eyesight or hearing evolve from the blind and deaf ?
    There could be no result to something there was no previous concept of.
    If that genetic information was already there, why did it remain dormant or who put it there ?

    I suggest you read some books or attend some lectures about evolution for a start.

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    • Replies: @boogerbently
    The DNA wasn't there before, or they'd have sight/hearing/wings....
    Or it was dormant there, placed by "someone".
  43. @PapayaSF
    While various aspects of evolutionary theory have had flaws or gaps (and continue to have them), I suspect that some of the defensiveness of evolutionists comes from having to so often defend against illogical arguments from religious critics.

    If one looks at all life on Earth, and the historical record, the theory of evolution makes sense of an awful lot of it. There are puzzles and gaps, sure, but the theory arose to explain many things that did not make sense in the Creationist view. The Creationist view necessitates believing in a God who played a lot of jokes, did a lot of things inefficiently (e.g. why design humans to walk upright and then give them back problems?), made a huge number of mistakes, and then left a lot of false clues to trick people into thinking evolution occurred. Seems unlikely, at least for the Judeo-Christian conception of God.

    And God is the ultimate reason why religious Creationism makes no sense. They endless argue that life is too amazing and complex to have arisen in any way, except by design. But is you ask where God came from, they'll tell you He just "always existed." Somehow, the amazing powers of God require no explanation of origins, but evolutionists are held to task for not explaining every step of the last 4 billion years.

    And God is the ultimate reason why religious Creationism makes no sense. They endless argue that life is too amazing and complex to have arisen in any way, except by design. But is you ask where God came from, they’ll tell you He just “always existed.” Somehow, the amazing powers of God require no explanation of origins, but evolutionists are held to task for not explaining every step of the last 4 billion years.

    YES!

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  44. @Rurik
    once you accept that it's impossible to know how the first DNA molecule came into existence, the rest seems fairly simple.

    we don't need to know how life started to understand how it evolves. The Neanderthals are gone because "we" killed them off and replaced them. Soon, we'll be replaced by AI, perhaps using some of the carbon based life forms to augment its evolution. Perhaps we'll morph into a kind of AI/organic synthesis.

    the way I see it, when people ask me where the missing link is, I say it's us. We're the missing link. We're poised between the animal world and the Gods. Much, much closer to the animals. We've only just began the trip to post-animal existence, and in 99.99999% of our existence, were 100% animal. (even if we don't always want to admit it)

    There's just a hint of the divine. And that hint is found in Fred's grasping attempt to understand his place in the universe. {which is the question that ultimately motivates both religion and science} To ask of his life, why? Animals don't self-reflect and wonder at why they exist, they simply do. Modern humans wonder why (or think they know), but the fact is, there is no why. That's the next hurdle in human cultural evolution. To understand that there is no why, and be comfortable with it. Indeed, to revel and exult in such knowledge.

    Personally when I hear people's angst and their squeamishness at the knowledge that we're only animals and are driven by instincts and chemicals and physics that we don't ultimately control with some kind of volitional free will, I want to tell them 'yes! and how wonderful is that?!' You see if we weren't put here by the Gods, or some God, or aliens, but rather have simply come to exist by some quirk of the universe, and are really animals, and automatons driven by instincts to eat and roam and fuck and frolic, enjoying all the fruits of the senses and all the wonders of life, just for the fun of it, well then how cool is that?!

    We humans are incredibly unlikely accidents, and we're not beholding to anyone or anything, least of all some God or Gods. (perhaps that's one of the real glories of living after the Renaissance and the age of science) We're free to revel in life, and be amazed at the singular miracle of our existence. Every breath is a treasure, once you come to understand the unlikelihood of it all. Not only that we exist, but that we're able to look at ourselves and be aware of ourselves and indeed, marvel at it all.

    If we were put here by a God, who expected us to worship Him and pay homage to Him and crawl on our bellies in humility and fear of Him, then that's not too fun. But if we were an infinitesimally unlikely accident, of, as Fred mentions, to the n'th degree, now wow, what great luck!

    As for consciousness, what it is, is the unlikely benefit of having such a large brain, that as you're out foraging for food, (going to work), or seeking a mate- unlike most of the animal kingdom, they're unaware of these instincts (and hormones and enzymes and dendrites and synapsis) all firing and flowing and functioning and tweaking our sense of ourselves, as we (these machines that we are) live in this incredible world, we (almost alone, with the dolphins and other advanced life forms) are able to be aware of it all, and as we feel it, we're also able to reflect on it all. It's a byproduct of the functioning of our brains, that we have this amazing thing called consciousness, that allows us to reflect on it all, and be aware that we're going through this phenomena called living.

    It's incredible. No?

    Those are just a few of my thoughts on all this.

    I like these kinds of conversations.

    But I would prefer to take the issues one by one, so to speak. Not that it wasn't fun to comment on this.

    If we were put here by a God, who expected us to worship Him and pay homage to Him and crawl on our bellies in humility and fear of Him, then that’s not too fun.

    Sir.

    I am a strong believer in the NT, and not much on the old, especially after Genesis. I am totally convinced of the existence of a Higher Being, who created all, that the so called science is of not value to me. (I do have three College degrees, which as Paul said, I considered them dung, for the excellency of the knowledge of my Savior Iousus Christos)

    I am so amazed by Mr. Fred Reed, and his insights, that he basically made my day. I am going to re-read it again.

    The NT does not expect no one to crawl on our bellies, at all. You must be misguided. However, Christos, call me ‘his friend’ and I don’t expect my friends to crawl on their bellies for me. Rather, I do enjoy their company and ‘friendship’.

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    • Replies: @Rurik

    The NT does not expect no one to crawl on our bellies, at all. You must be misguided. However, Christos, call me ‘his friend’
     
    when I noticed that the Unz put this article at the top, I realized I'd have some 'splanin' to do'.

    I want to make sure it's clear I'm not trying to denigrate anyone's religious beliefs. Hardly. Personally, I've often read the words of the Christ with great humility and profound respect. If there is a God, the Christ's life for me came as close to how a man should emulate it. He was that guy, who saw the forces of evil for what they were, and was willing not only to sacrifice his life to oppose them, but he did it all out of love for us all. (BTW, the closest living man I know of who I consider by his actions almost Christ-like, is Edward Snowden)

    Anyways, what I mean by crawl on our bellies is the idea that we're all 'born in sin'. And that we have to live our lives in abject renunciation of our 'sinfulness' (flesh). And prostrate ourselves to a God or the (men of the) church in penance, not for any particular sin, but for being sinners. And what are these sins? Lust, surly among the top, when I listen to radio preachers. Pride, independence of mind and will and spirit, rather than submission to the church.

    "let go, let God"

    and so forth. These ideas, like that when we lust after a beautiful woman, (from afar and with respect, indeed, with reverence),- is when I consider my human life at its most profoundly meaningful and worshipful. A beautiful women or, like motherhood, it is a miracle and the greatest of all of life's awes, and which gives us humans our only kind of true immortality. Yet I don't feel that way about motherhood simply because it was Madonna who birthed the Christ, but for all mothers, however exalted or humble.

    I respect the themes running though the NT, and have a special place in my heart and soul for the Christ, but I don't read that book believing that every word in it is infallible, or written by the very hand of God Himself. I'm sorry but I consider that preposterous, and that it leads to error, and intractability, when it comes to things like eternal damnation. If this God is all merciful, yet would send a man (or child) to hell for ever, for using his brain and having doubts about the Biblical version of everything, then I find that contradictory. Such a God isn't all merciful, but is rather a sort of tyrant, demanding obeisance to Him - or at least His mortal proxies on earth, (wearing unusual clothing)

    in short, I love the Christian people, and consider them the best of the best, but I believe that their leadership has used and abused them, by taking their thirty shekels from the PTB, they've sent the flock down the road to perdition, with glib lies about all the wars and going along with the myriad atrocities in the Middle East, that I am absolutely certain the Lamb of Peace would be inconsolable over. You want to know my favorite words from the Bible, from Jesus Christ the Lord?

    these are them:

    "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

    Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

    Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

    Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.


    Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

    Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

    Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

    Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you"


    When I read these words, especially from the perspective of what I see going on in the world today, (and the holy land [Gaza] in particular) I feel I'm reading the very words of the son of God. The kind of man who would die slowly on a cross, to save humanity from those who would send son to slay son.

    ~ I didn't mean to rant, I just sort of do sometimes ~
  45. Fred, your discussion of the typing monkeys ignores just how vast our oceans are, how many billions of other such oceans exist, and how many individual chemical reactions occurred over billions of years.

    Also this:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropic_principle

    The many instances where the monkeys typed the wrong never produced a Fred Reed to wonder about them.

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  46. @John Jeremiah Smith
    Too long, and a persistent form and repetition of logical failure. Break it up, make it 10 focused essays.

    Science sometimes explains things, but the true essence of science is to describe the world around us. A proof for how "life" came into existence is not a requirement that any of many evolutionary science specialties are required to provide. Sorry.

    I admit to being a bit surprised, and disappointed, that Fred Reed seems to believe that evolutionary studies must trot out proof that life began spontaneously. How come evolutionists have to explain exactly how life happened, and creationists just say "God did it" and they're home free, so to speak? Burden of proof and all, ya know? At the very least, Fred should demand the same level of explanation and proof, da? Heck, don't even get yourself worked up about proving God exists -- just prove God created life, huh? 'Cause assuming God did it is not proof, any more than assuming that life happened spontaneously from interactions of chemical compounds is proof.

    While you're at it, explain where God came from. But, when all is said and done, why bother? Why not let religion be religion, and science be science? Religion explains; science describes.

    You did not get it at all. You are just obsessed with God or rather people who think there is God and you do not realize it. Zero insight. I wonder how many genes are responsible for insight.

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    • Replies: @John Jeremiah Smith

    You did not get it at all. You are just obsessed with God or rather people who think there is God and you do not realize it. Zero insight. I wonder how many genes are responsible for insight.
     
    I've got to admit to feeling even more superior than usual after reading your bit of silly rot.
  47. @Rich
    As usual, Fred writes an excellent essay. I've found that both evolutionists and global warmists cling to their faiths even more than any Evangelical, Orthodox Jew or Wahhabi. Fred has made reasonable arguments that call into question some aspects of evolution, no biologist will answer him logically or convincingly. Evolutionists typically argue against the Judeo-Christian-Islamist God and are easily able to prove, at least to me, the impossibility of such a God existing. This doesn't prove the impossibility of any higher power, god, gods or goddesses, existing. It just proves that the God of Abraham doesn't exist, that's all. I'm not arguing that there's any proof of a higher power either, I'm saying this is an impenetrable mystery. This is why engineering is the only real science. Theorize all you want, building something is real.

    Evolutionists typically argue against the Judeo-Christian-Islamist God and are easily able to prove, at least to me, the impossibility of such a God existing…

    Not such thing as a Judeo-Christian-Islamist God.

    All three are in contradiction with each other. Judeans worship their rabbis who control the tribe with an iron fist. Mohammedans also are controlled by their Imams. In each of these religions there are several break ups, which causes confusion to the uninformed. Judeans/Talmudists have several branches, as well as Mohammedans. Then we have ‘churchianity’, which most are familiar with.
    Iin the obscure and non familiar world, we do have ‘Christians’ who are few and random in umbral areas where they live unrecognized by the world at large.

    the term ‘Judeo-Christian’ was coined during WWII, and utilized to corral the herd against Germany.

    A little extra info:

    Following the division of Israel and the Assyrian captivity of the northern tribes, the southern kingdom of Judah adopted the pagan traditions of the heathen nation of ancient Babylon.
    The Chaldean religious tradition that was embraced by apostate Jews during their captivity in Babylon was delivered to subsequent generations by word of mouth. According to Blavatsky, these disseminators of the Chaldean tradition in the few centuries before Christ were known as Tanaim:

    “Kabalist. From Q B L H, Kabala, an unwritten or oral tradition. The kabalist is a student of ‘secret science’, one who interprets the hidden meaning of the Scriptures with the help of the symbolical Kabala… The Tanaim were the first kabalists among the Jews; they appeared at Jerusalem about the beginning of the third century before the Christian era

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    • Replies: @Rich
    Some might argue that Christians are, in your words, "controlled" by their priests or ministers. I realize that all three major faiths of the Middle East have different tenets, but, obviously, all three claim to worship some version of the god "Yahweh", no? All three faiths have different sects, each claiming to be the correct one, each without any verifiable proof that they are right. I can't say you, or Moishe, or Mohammed are wrong in your beliefs, I just have never seen any visible evidence of it. Cure a leper, walk on water, give sight to the blind, then maybe I'll believe you. Or, in the words of my favorite Apostle, "Except I shall see in his hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails and put my hand into His side, I will not believe."
    I mean no disrespect to you or your faith and fully support everyone's right to worship as they believe, as long as they don't physically harm their fellow citizens.
  48. @PapayaSF
    While various aspects of evolutionary theory have had flaws or gaps (and continue to have them), I suspect that some of the defensiveness of evolutionists comes from having to so often defend against illogical arguments from religious critics.

    If one looks at all life on Earth, and the historical record, the theory of evolution makes sense of an awful lot of it. There are puzzles and gaps, sure, but the theory arose to explain many things that did not make sense in the Creationist view. The Creationist view necessitates believing in a God who played a lot of jokes, did a lot of things inefficiently (e.g. why design humans to walk upright and then give them back problems?), made a huge number of mistakes, and then left a lot of false clues to trick people into thinking evolution occurred. Seems unlikely, at least for the Judeo-Christian conception of God.

    And God is the ultimate reason why religious Creationism makes no sense. They endless argue that life is too amazing and complex to have arisen in any way, except by design. But is you ask where God came from, they'll tell you He just "always existed." Somehow, the amazing powers of God require no explanation of origins, but evolutionists are held to task for not explaining every step of the last 4 billion years.

    “And God is the ultimate reason…” – You did not get it either. Why are you more interested in God than evolution?

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  49. @PapayaSF
    While various aspects of evolutionary theory have had flaws or gaps (and continue to have them), I suspect that some of the defensiveness of evolutionists comes from having to so often defend against illogical arguments from religious critics.

    If one looks at all life on Earth, and the historical record, the theory of evolution makes sense of an awful lot of it. There are puzzles and gaps, sure, but the theory arose to explain many things that did not make sense in the Creationist view. The Creationist view necessitates believing in a God who played a lot of jokes, did a lot of things inefficiently (e.g. why design humans to walk upright and then give them back problems?), made a huge number of mistakes, and then left a lot of false clues to trick people into thinking evolution occurred. Seems unlikely, at least for the Judeo-Christian conception of God.

    And God is the ultimate reason why religious Creationism makes no sense. They endless argue that life is too amazing and complex to have arisen in any way, except by design. But is you ask where God came from, they'll tell you He just "always existed." Somehow, the amazing powers of God require no explanation of origins, but evolutionists are held to task for not explaining every step of the last 4 billion years.

    No one can explain where God came from. It might be because there is not need for it. I Personally don’t have the need to know where God came from.
    When I was in the service and was told ‘need to know’ I never question it, because some things are well… need to know, and may be God does not tells us where and how he came from based on that, ‘need to know’.
    I could not comprehend the deluge for a long, long time, I questioned how could a ‘globe’ be flooded. Until, until I started to view videos and thinking on the crazy and more crazy idea of a flat earth! Well, several videos on Utube which are brilliantly exposed and mathematically detailed have brought me to the conclusion the we were lied, and how that lie came about by sun worshipers (capernicus), even though they ‘created’ that lie without any facts! So go ahead and ridicule me if you will, but before that, study and review those info videos and come back afterwards if you still incredulous.

    Respectfully,

    in the middle

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    • Replies: @Talha
    Hey ITM,

    No one can explain where God came from. It might be because there is not need for it.
     
    Correct, insofar as if the very definition, of what one deems to be the Supreme Being/God, necessarily includes that which is eternal without beginning or end (aka completely transcends time/space). Then it makes about as much sense to ask "When did..." or "From where did..." in relation to God as it does to ask why a square must necessarily have four corners and only four.

    One does not have to believe in God and say all of this is a bunch of hoo-hah, of course, but to ask certain questions answered by the very definition of that Being, doesn't make much sense.

    Peace.
  50. yes,

    No need to be ‘intellectual’ or highly educated I guess to place a personal input into this subject.

    personally I would like to thank the writer of this article for his incredible insight into the creation of all living creatures. It really made my day by my awe to such insight. To most, the mention of a Creator is anathema, and out of the question. To some evolution just don’t make any sense, I am included in that one.

    Some times the truth is so incredible, that most refuse to believe it, especially when humanity has been thought the same lie over and over again. Just think for a moment; Do any of you believe that the earth is flat?.. of course not! we were thought all our lives that the earth is a globe, a sphere, without any proof whatsoever, regardless of its name ‘planet’ which in Spanish is ‘planeta’ which means something plane, of flat. When I first found that one, I was upset calling those affirming the earth to be flat, as totally ready for a mental hospital. Not more!

    If you believe the earth is flat, you are half awake!

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    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    Sorry, I have been reading your comments backwards and have only just realised you are trolling to see who will bite.
    , @White Eagle
    Flat earth again, really? I've been up in a plane at high altitude and you can visibly SEE that the earth has a curvature. You can also see that the sun is a globe as well as the moon. It's that simple. The earth is a sphere, hung upon nothing in the void of space, affected by energy currents... going to leave it at that .
  51. @John Jeremiah Smith

    One technical point, on which both evolutionists and creationists have been foolish, is irreducible complexity. Evolution acts by simplifying and cutting down more easily than by building up, so if some “reducibly complex” system evolved in any way at all, the further operation of evolution would reduce it until it could no longer be reduced without loss of function.
     
    "If" being the most applicable term.

    Observable evolution is extremely inefficient. It most certainly does not concern itself with boozhwah like "irreducible complexity" because the forces and counter-forces collectively regarded as "evolution" are not dedicated to, nor constructed by, bullshit concepts that have no application. Evolution just plain does not care, because "evolution" is just the universe doing what it does.

    Evolution is not "survival of the fittest". At most, it is "survival of the fit", or possibly "Those who can survive sometimes do." Adaptations that may be more effective in one environment may mean the end of a species when that environment changes, or the organisms are forced out of the niche by other organisms. There is no such thing as "superior" adaptive characteristics. The bar is low; any organism "good enough" gets by.

    Otherwise, if you prefer a nice little morality hook, we would be working as slaves to mayflies.

    Evolution is not “survival of the fittest”. At most, it is “survival of the fit”

    Humans, and other living things constantly die, and survival is zero. Descendants are alive, who regardless of their ‘fitness’ will die and rot. so technically, no one survives!
    Death is 100 % victorious! Always wins, and what will be the end of this argument? Can we prove death exists? we can’t see it, and yet has always beaten us so far. May be the evolutionist will say that its explained by physics, and replicated in the lab. Of course that is a joke, and who is laughing?

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    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    Death doesn't "exist". That's why you can't see it. It *occurs*.
  52. @Jim Bob Lassiter
    There must be a God. Fred is 70 by my calculations and still cranking out 4 wormers at the bottom of the bottles per sitting. I'm only sixty something and had to give up my yeast piss habit completely.

    Mir. Lassiter:

    I am totally convinced that there is Creator. If it was not so, life would be unbearable. I was told once that there are not atheist in combat.
    We believers see the world in mortal combat, not to win an argument, but to win people with simplicity and love. When some one tells me ’4 billion years ago’ I instantly lift the BS flat. No human being can for sure say that phrase without causing consternation; I can hardly believe that there are people who cannot close their mind when they hear such an absurdity! When I am told, ‘the Roman empire’, then I pay attention ,because there are vestiges of it. Also British Empire, and now the American Empire. So with that said, when I read the NT, which is what I believe, people, places and occurrences are verifiable. Merely 2 thousand years ago and believable, during the age of the Roman Empire.
    And yes, there is not such thing as ‘Judeo-Christian’ thingy. As far is the east from the west, is Judeo/Talmudism from NT Christianity!
    Talmudism and Churchianity might be close, especially with the current Zionist Preachers in Churchianity, but not to Christianity. Get over it.

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    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    I find life very enjoyable but don't believe in a Creator or any other interfering or interested deity. So please explain to me how it is that your supposed Creator makes sure that even I find life bearable and indeed much better than that?
  53. Oh dear, you mistake the origin of life for evolution. That mistake automatically shows that you do not understand what you are criticising. The two matters are completely separate, as anyone with any actual understanding of evolution knows. Then you start to blather about irreducible complexity, despite that having been debunked multiple times, before ending with some mystical, pseudoscientific drivel about consciousness. Weak, very very weak.

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  54. @in the middle
    Evolution is not “survival of the fittest”. At most, it is “survival of the fit”

    Humans, and other living things constantly die, and survival is zero. Descendants are alive, who regardless of their 'fitness' will die and rot. so technically, no one survives!
    Death is 100 % victorious! Always wins, and what will be the end of this argument? Can we prove death exists? we can't see it, and yet has always beaten us so far. May be the evolutionist will say that its explained by physics, and replicated in the lab. Of course that is a joke, and who is laughing?

    Death doesn’t “exist”. That’s why you can’t see it. It *occurs*.

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  55. @in the middle
    Mir. Lassiter:

    I am totally convinced that there is Creator. If it was not so, life would be unbearable. I was told once that there are not atheist in combat.
    We believers see the world in mortal combat, not to win an argument, but to win people with simplicity and love. When some one tells me '4 billion years ago' I instantly lift the BS flat. No human being can for sure say that phrase without causing consternation; I can hardly believe that there are people who cannot close their mind when they hear such an absurdity! When I am told, 'the Roman empire', then I pay attention ,because there are vestiges of it. Also British Empire, and now the American Empire. So with that said, when I read the NT, which is what I believe, people, places and occurrences are verifiable. Merely 2 thousand years ago and believable, during the age of the Roman Empire.
    And yes, there is not such thing as 'Judeo-Christian' thingy. As far is the east from the west, is Judeo/Talmudism from NT Christianity!
    Talmudism and Churchianity might be close, especially with the current Zionist Preachers in Churchianity, but not to Christianity. Get over it.

    I find life very enjoyable but don’t believe in a Creator or any other interfering or interested deity. So please explain to me how it is that your supposed Creator makes sure that even I find life bearable and indeed much better than that?

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    • Replies: @in the middle
    Sir.

    Because you have not choice, but to find life bearable; some people were not able to find life bearable, and decided to end it. I am glad that you find life 'bearable'. Because life is more than arguments about who made who, and who is right/wrong, etc.

    V/R,

    in the middle
  56. @in the middle
    yes,

    No need to be 'intellectual' or highly educated I guess to place a personal input into this subject.

    personally I would like to thank the writer of this article for his incredible insight into the creation of all living creatures. It really made my day by my awe to such insight. To most, the mention of a Creator is anathema, and out of the question. To some evolution just don't make any sense, I am included in that one.

    Some times the truth is so incredible, that most refuse to believe it, especially when humanity has been thought the same lie over and over again. Just think for a moment; Do any of you believe that the earth is flat?.. of course not! we were thought all our lives that the earth is a globe, a sphere, without any proof whatsoever, regardless of its name 'planet' which in Spanish is 'planeta' which means something plane, of flat. When I first found that one, I was upset calling those affirming the earth to be flat, as totally ready for a mental hospital. Not more!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_oDMXi-Qeg


    If you believe the earth is flat, you are half awake!

    Sorry, I have been reading your comments backwards and have only just realised you are trolling to see who will bite.

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    • Replies: @in the middle
    No Mr. Oz:

    I have not idea what trolling is, nor do I wish to know. I am simply placing my opinions here or answering some times. Mr. Oz, may be we do need to get out of our chairs and desks. Go out, visit museums, zoos, malls, get to see the outdoors, your perspective might change, and help you with this drivel and digest the non sense that sometimes is written here.

    BTW, reading others opinions cost us nothing here, the only time that we pay for reading others opinions is when we read books, but here we are free to skip what we consider

    Lets see if 'troll' applies to me:

    In Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous,or off-topic messages in an online community.

    If I upset any one, please pardon me, was not my intention at all. Nor do I wish to sow discord, far be it from me to do so.

    thank you
  57. Macro evolution is indeed a fantastical tale, fish magically sprouting legs, gills transforming over night into lungs etc.

    Let us just ignore the fossil record too whilst we are it.

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  58. @utu
    You did not get it at all. You are just obsessed with God or rather people who think there is God and you do not realize it. Zero insight. I wonder how many genes are responsible for insight.

    You did not get it at all. You are just obsessed with God or rather people who think there is God and you do not realize it. Zero insight. I wonder how many genes are responsible for insight.

    I’ve got to admit to feeling even more superior than usual after reading your bit of silly rot.

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  59. Anyone who has prepared a fresh pineapple for eating and noticed the waste involved sees proof that there is nothing to the idea of “intelligent” design.

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  60. @PapayaSF
    At the risk of monopolizing the thread, one more link. For a fun and fascinating look at how random chance constrained by simple rules can produce amazing complexity, see Conway's Game of Life.

    Thank you!! I’ve been trying to remember that for ages now!

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  61. The irreducible complexity argument has been debunked over and over again and the impossibly low probability argument is a straw man. Verbosity does not make them stronger.

    The more we learn about Earth, the more life looks like one of its fundamental properties. Isotope geochemical indicators of metabolic processes have been dated to less than a billion years after Earth formed. That’s 3.5 billion years of life in some form or other.

    Within the last 50 years we have learned that the chemistry of seawater is in equilibrium with the ocean floor, with small variability. That is because the water circulates through mega-geothermal systems and complete circulation through those systems is rapid on a geologic time scale. Those same geothermal systems support thermal polymerization of amino acids, one of the key building blocks for life. A polymerized amino acid that preserves itself by penetrating one of the ubiquitous lipid bubbles gains functionality, one of the defining factors of life. A polymerizing amino acid that gains constituents through the lipid bubble is engaging in a behavior known as “eating,” another functionality. A polymerized amino acid that can interact with the lipid bubble to make it grow and divide into two lipid bubbles is reproducing. The requirements for primordial life were pretty simple and there were an inestimable number of chances for amino acid-lipid combinations to develop its characteristics.

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    • Replies: @A German__

    The irreducible complexity argument has been debunked over and over again
     
    Sad that you don't give only one link.

    and the impossibly low probability argument is a straw man. Verbosity does not make them stronger.

     

    But where are the artifacts? If you re right there must be nearly endless remnants in all categories of life.

    Within the last 50 years we have learned that the chemistry of seawater is in equilibrium with the ocean floor, with small variability. ... Those same geothermal systems support thermal polymerization of amino acids, ...
     
    This is more an approval of intelligent than disproof. Why should the almighty do anything in detail if he/they can simple create the rules?
  62. Fred is most likely suffering from existential angst as he ponders deep questions about the how and why life came about. Indeed, why does he or anything for that matter exist? He covers an awful lot of ground in his essay and I’ll only touch on a couple of questions he raises. He writes “Which means that the brain cannot, and thus we cannot, make choices. Physical systems cannot choose what to do.” Wrong. The laws of physics are not quite as deterministic as Fred apparently believes. There’s Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. There’s quantum mechanics. Or one could just consider a simple snowflake for example. About the only deterministic statement a physicist would conclude about their formation is that they form hexagonal structures. With an estimated 10 to the nineteenth molecules that make up a single snowflake you would have to look for a very, very, very long time to find two that are identical. In other words it’s virtually impossible to predict the exact shape of a snowflake before the water droplet becomes a snowflake. Physicists don’t have a problem with that. Similarly there’s no conflict between science and the idea of choice and free will. As for the origin of the first living cells or why we clever humans have not figured out how to create one in the lab, well perhaps Fred answered that himself with his monkeys and typewriters analogy.

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    • Replies: @Lorax
    Fine Comment;
    Fred's political views are OK but sad to see him biting off so much to chew.
    The old Bible explains the creation of Eve from a guy's rib which is so wrong that
    I think a ration person would conclude that the entire book is just all made up.
    So meditate upon the existence of your Yorkshire Terrier, evolved by conscious evolution
    of many English dog breeding experiments.
    Hmmm, so maybe the universe also evolved by a Cosmic biologist's tinkering. Dunno.
    I doubt that Fred Reed will go to a faith healer if pneumonia strikes, God forbid.
    A licensed Medical doctor would be a more rational choice.
  63. @Drapetomaniac
    It is interesting that the concept of "God" evolved.

    And belief in God seems to be of great survival advantage, since the vast majority possess it.

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    • Replies: @Rich
    Belief in the correct god at the right time and place is the great survival advantage. Being a Jew or Christian in ISIS controlled lands is probably not too healthy right now, or a Shia in the wrong part of Iraq, either. In Europe, admission that one did not believe in the god of whatever the king or emperor decreed could result in torture and death not so long ago. Even now, in certain professions, not believing in the current god of political correctness can cause someone to be fired and shunned. Rome didn't fall until the Romans stopped being tolerant of different religions and adopted the Christian faith as the only acceptable religion.
    , @in the middle
    Life is so wonderful! without it, well, we will be all death! So lest enjoy it while we can, because once it ends, well, cannot enjoy it any more!

    By the way, lets concentrate on important things, like TURMP FOR PRESIDENT!
    , @backup
    Just look at the differences in birth rates of the religious and the vehemently non-religious. It both proves the usefulness of religion and how such usefulness fits in the evolution theory.

    Ironical tidbits like this almost make me believe in a god.
  64. @in the middle
    Evolutionists typically argue against the Judeo-Christian-Islamist God and are easily able to prove, at least to me, the impossibility of such a God existing...

    Not such thing as a Judeo-Christian-Islamist God.

    All three are in contradiction with each other. Judeans worship their rabbis who control the tribe with an iron fist. Mohammedans also are controlled by their Imams. In each of these religions there are several break ups, which causes confusion to the uninformed. Judeans/Talmudists have several branches, as well as Mohammedans. Then we have 'churchianity', which most are familiar with.
    Iin the obscure and non familiar world, we do have 'Christians' who are few and random in umbral areas where they live unrecognized by the world at large.

    the term 'Judeo-Christian' was coined during WWII, and utilized to corral the herd against Germany.

    A little extra info:

    Following the division of Israel and the Assyrian captivity of the northern tribes, the southern kingdom of Judah adopted the pagan traditions of the heathen nation of ancient Babylon.
    The Chaldean religious tradition that was embraced by apostate Jews during their captivity in Babylon was delivered to subsequent generations by word of mouth. According to Blavatsky, these disseminators of the Chaldean tradition in the few centuries before Christ were known as Tanaim:

    “Kabalist. From Q B L H, Kabala, an unwritten or oral tradition. The kabalist is a student of ‘secret science’, one who interprets the hidden meaning of the Scriptures with the help of the symbolical Kabala… The Tanaim were the first kabalists among the Jews; they appeared at Jerusalem about the beginning of the third century before the Christian era

    Some might argue that Christians are, in your words, “controlled” by their priests or ministers. I realize that all three major faiths of the Middle East have different tenets, but, obviously, all three claim to worship some version of the god “Yahweh”, no? All three faiths have different sects, each claiming to be the correct one, each without any verifiable proof that they are right. I can’t say you, or Moishe, or Mohammed are wrong in your beliefs, I just have never seen any visible evidence of it. Cure a leper, walk on water, give sight to the blind, then maybe I’ll believe you. Or, in the words of my favorite Apostle, “Except I shall see in his hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
    I mean no disrespect to you or your faith and fully support everyone’s right to worship as they believe, as long as they don’t physically harm their fellow citizens.

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    • Replies: @Alden
    The Muslim God is not the same God Christians and Jews worship. He is a pre Islamic local Arabic God of war and the moon

    Jews and Christians both have the old man in the sky Yahweh or God the father. Jews just have the one. Christians added Jesus his son the god/man and the Holy Spirit I believe Protestants ignore the Holy Spirit although they have many colleges churches and schools named Trinity.
  65. These are only a few replies to early parts of the thread. Battery’s about to go flat.

    Regular readers, if there is one,

    You know you have many fans, Fred. I am just one.

    phenomenally good camouflage in creatures such as octopuses

    Most garishly colored fish (apart from the small riparian ones) are poisonous. Among the octopods, the deadly poisonous blue ring is garish. From memory, many squid are better at camouflage.

    Note that other sciences, such as astronomy and geology, even archaeology, are equally threatened by the notion that the world was created in 4004 BC.

    The Eastern Roman Empire’s reckoning was a little earlier than those of various Protestant loons, but as you likely know, after Constantine, they used a calendar based on reckoning from OT to NT.

    Evolution is the political correctness of science.

    Well, one must also count global warming.

    We now believe that nothing is or can be beyond our powers.

    I am not so sure about the ‘we’, sure you do not believe it yourself.

    Enjoy reading some science fiction, but the radiation problems in the inner solar system or around Jupiter, and the energy impossibilities for inter-stellar travel, make any tales dealing with either pure fantasy.

    There is a mundane science fiction faction, I will read either, but know that the interplanetary, let alone the interstellar or intergalactic, are all rubbish, or at best, metaphor.

    That said, I’d be very amused and saddened in equal portions if the Dutch-based Mars One actually went ahead.

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  66. What is the most interesting about Cockran is that he have background of jewish ”people”, people who have a abecedarian of genetic diseases and disorders. Jewish parasitic behavior no have any evolutionary value, in the true, even to the jewish people, parasitic behavior even among humans is a big bug. Parasitics usually have astuteness but absolutely lack of moderation.

    ”Creativity is like ”half or partial schizophrenia-autism-genetic expressions”

    in other words, if something caused schizophrenia or any other mental disorders that victorians here love to say loudly DISEASE, the same ”something”, diluted, will contribute to increase creativity.

    ”Heterozygotic advantage of dystonia among jews increase ‘their’ intelligence”

    poor and rich cousin

    poor cousin is MAD
    rich cousin is EXCENTRIC

    creativity is GENETIC
    mental disorders are PATHOGENIC

    ;)

    people who create this discontinuities between balanced –to– unbalanced expression tend to be intelectually dishonest.

    the human disaster on environment is not just a ”white guilty”,

    who are the people in the super-power positions today*

    i mean, we have this people with almost of the power in their hands AND ”they’ still continue to destroy environment… still causing absolutely idiotic troubles everywhere…

    Sexuality itself is likely caused also by microorganisms that coevolved, if complex life is ”just” a mutations of simple life. But i doubt it is a ”pathogen”.

    even the idea of pathogen is relative. Some microorganisms has been domesticated in the path of evolution. So what can cause trouble today, can be a ally tomorrow.

    It’s so easy to understand at macro-level (non atomic level) why homossexuality exist, everything tend to obey the duality principle, most to almost of traits of living beings or inanimate existence just varies.

    i have some biology-background to say it**

    no.

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    • Replies: @Alden
    Homosexuality is caused by testosterone levels excreted by the mother during pregnancy. 3 times during a pregnancy a woman excretes more than usual levels of testosterone. If all goes well, enough is excreted that the fetus becomes a heterosexual boy; or, less is excreted and the fetus remains a heterosexual girl

    But sometimes the amount excreted is not enough to make the fetus a heterosexual boy or too much so the fetus becomes a lesbian girl
    Hermaphrodites are created when not enough testosterone is excreted to turn the fetus into a complete boy.

    More info in any anatomy book
  67. @Finbar
    And belief in God seems to be of great survival advantage, since the vast majority possess it.

    Belief in the correct god at the right time and place is the great survival advantage. Being a Jew or Christian in ISIS controlled lands is probably not too healthy right now, or a Shia in the wrong part of Iraq, either. In Europe, admission that one did not believe in the god of whatever the king or emperor decreed could result in torture and death not so long ago. Even now, in certain professions, not believing in the current god of political correctness can cause someone to be fired and shunned. Rome didn’t fall until the Romans stopped being tolerant of different religions and adopted the Christian faith as the only acceptable religion.

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    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
    Pagan Rome was not tolerant of different religions. It persecuted Christians and other Eastern mystery religions, for example.
    When Rome fell in 410 AD, the Roman Empire had long been split into Eastern and Western Empires. The Eastern Empire was much wealthier and more urban than the West. It was also much more Christian as a lot of the rural West remained strongly Pagan.
    In fact, the term Paganus is Latin for an inhabitant of a rural division called a Pagus. Modern French Pays. From which Paysan ( Peasant). It was these rural divisions which remained pagan for a long time.
    The Eastern Empire remained strong and vigorous throughout this period. Constantinople, its capital, remained uncaptured by non-Christians for another 1,000 years after Rome, until 1453 AD, see Sir Stephen Runciman.
    So it looks like Rome fell because it wasn't CHRISTIAN ENOUGH in the 5th Century, not because it had adopted Christianity.
  68. @John Jeremiah Smith

    Like all human knowledge, evolution is a myth. But one that suits our rationalistic age perfectly.
    That’s how Tom Wolfe, a Noble awardee if Nobel for literature had non-political significance, put it.
     
    The above sort of comical hoo-hoo that streams in from the Great Internet Pool of Stupidity is a constant source of amusement.

    Sam Clemens, as a writer, is light-years superior to Tom Wolfe. As of today, I have not adopted any of Clemens' theological viewpoints.

    Sam Clemens was an atheist

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  69. @Rich
    Some might argue that Christians are, in your words, "controlled" by their priests or ministers. I realize that all three major faiths of the Middle East have different tenets, but, obviously, all three claim to worship some version of the god "Yahweh", no? All three faiths have different sects, each claiming to be the correct one, each without any verifiable proof that they are right. I can't say you, or Moishe, or Mohammed are wrong in your beliefs, I just have never seen any visible evidence of it. Cure a leper, walk on water, give sight to the blind, then maybe I'll believe you. Or, in the words of my favorite Apostle, "Except I shall see in his hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails and put my hand into His side, I will not believe."
    I mean no disrespect to you or your faith and fully support everyone's right to worship as they believe, as long as they don't physically harm their fellow citizens.

    The Muslim God is not the same God Christians and Jews worship. He is a pre Islamic local Arabic God of war and the moon

    Jews and Christians both have the old man in the sky Yahweh or God the father. Jews just have the one. Christians added Jesus his son the god/man and the Holy Spirit I believe Protestants ignore the Holy Spirit although they have many colleges churches and schools named Trinity.

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    • Replies: @Rich
    I've read some Muslim books and history, and they firmly believe they are worshiping the God of Abraham, the same Great Jehovah that both the Jews and the Christians worship. In fact their founder fought against the Arabs who worshiped the moon god. You may dislike them all you want, may disagree with them with all your heart and soul, but they're in on Yahweh just like the other two religions. In fact, because they don't believe in the trinity, follow the Old Testament rules regarding sexuality, marriage, idols, etc., they are closer to Judaism than Trinitarian Christians are.
    Protestants, by the way, believe in the Trinity, you're thinking of Unitarians.
  70. @Santoculto
    What is the most interesting about Cockran is that he have background of jewish ''people'', people who have a abecedarian of genetic diseases and disorders. Jewish parasitic behavior no have any evolutionary value, in the true, even to the jewish people, parasitic behavior even among humans is a big bug. Parasitics usually have astuteness but absolutely lack of moderation.

    ''Creativity is like ''half or partial schizophrenia-autism-genetic expressions''

    in other words, if something caused schizophrenia or any other mental disorders that victorians here love to say loudly DISEASE, the same ''something'', diluted, will contribute to increase creativity.

    ''Heterozygotic advantage of dystonia among jews increase 'their' intelligence''


    poor and rich cousin

    poor cousin is MAD
    rich cousin is EXCENTRIC

    creativity is GENETIC
    mental disorders are PATHOGENIC

    ;)

    people who create this discontinuities between balanced --to-- unbalanced expression tend to be intelectually dishonest.


    the human disaster on environment is not just a ''white guilty'',

    who are the people in the super-power positions today*

    i mean, we have this people with almost of the power in their hands AND ''they' still continue to destroy environment... still causing absolutely idiotic troubles everywhere...

    Sexuality itself is likely caused also by microorganisms that coevolved, if complex life is ''just'' a mutations of simple life. But i doubt it is a ''pathogen''.

    even the idea of pathogen is relative. Some microorganisms has been domesticated in the path of evolution. So what can cause trouble today, can be a ally tomorrow.

    It's so easy to understand at macro-level (non atomic level) why homossexuality exist, everything tend to obey the duality principle, most to almost of traits of living beings or inanimate existence just varies.

    i have some biology-background to say it**

    no.

    Homosexuality is caused by testosterone levels excreted by the mother during pregnancy. 3 times during a pregnancy a woman excretes more than usual levels of testosterone. If all goes well, enough is excreted that the fetus becomes a heterosexual boy; or, less is excreted and the fetus remains a heterosexual girl

    But sometimes the amount excreted is not enough to make the fetus a heterosexual boy or too much so the fetus becomes a lesbian girl
    Hermaphrodites are created when not enough testosterone is excreted to turn the fetus into a complete boy.

    More info in any anatomy book

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    • Replies: @Santoculto
    Based on ''imprinted brain theory'' homossexuality would be like the mixing of sexual traits of both sexes resulting in the broad and diverse spectrum of the sexual inversion.
    , @NoneRightNow
    @Alden: Nonsense. What you describe is absolutely unscientific and cannot force anyone to commit homosexual acts. People choose to commit homosexual acts of their own free will. As Fred said in the article, this is a moral question and not dictated by physics.
  71. @in the middle
    If we were put here by a God, who expected us to worship Him and pay homage to Him and crawl on our bellies in humility and fear of Him, then that’s not too fun.

    Sir.

    I am a strong believer in the NT, and not much on the old, especially after Genesis. I am totally convinced of the existence of a Higher Being, who created all, that the so called science is of not value to me. (I do have three College degrees, which as Paul said, I considered them dung, for the excellency of the knowledge of my Savior Iousus Christos)

    I am so amazed by Mr. Fred Reed, and his insights, that he basically made my day. I am going to re-read it again.

    The NT does not expect no one to crawl on our bellies, at all. You must be misguided. However, Christos, call me 'his friend' and I don't expect my friends to crawl on their bellies for me. Rather, I do enjoy their company and 'friendship'.

    The NT does not expect no one to crawl on our bellies, at all. You must be misguided. However, Christos, call me ‘his friend’

    when I noticed that the Unz put this article at the top, I realized I’d have some ‘splanin’ to do’.

    I want to make sure it’s clear I’m not trying to denigrate anyone’s religious beliefs. Hardly. Personally, I’ve often read the words of the Christ with great humility and profound respect. If there is a God, the Christ’s life for me came as close to how a man should emulate it. He was that guy, who saw the forces of evil for what they were, and was willing not only to sacrifice his life to oppose them, but he did it all out of love for us all. (BTW, the closest living man I know of who I consider by his actions almost Christ-like, is Edward Snowden)

    Anyways, what I mean by crawl on our bellies is the idea that we’re all ‘born in sin’. And that we have to live our lives in abject renunciation of our ‘sinfulness’ (flesh). And prostrate ourselves to a God or the (men of the) church in penance, not for any particular sin, but for being sinners. And what are these sins? Lust, surly among the top, when I listen to radio preachers. Pride, independence of mind and will and spirit, rather than submission to the church.

    “let go, let God”

    and so forth. These ideas, like that when we lust after a beautiful woman, (from afar and with respect, indeed, with reverence),- is when I consider my human life at its most profoundly meaningful and worshipful. A beautiful women or, like motherhood, it is a miracle and the greatest of all of life’s awes, and which gives us humans our only kind of true immortality. Yet I don’t feel that way about motherhood simply because it was Madonna who birthed the Christ, but for all mothers, however exalted or humble.

    I respect the themes running though the NT, and have a special place in my heart and soul for the Christ, but I don’t read that book believing that every word in it is infallible, or written by the very hand of God Himself. I’m sorry but I consider that preposterous, and that it leads to error, and intractability, when it comes to things like eternal damnation. If this God is all merciful, yet would send a man (or child) to hell for ever, for using his brain and having doubts about the Biblical version of everything, then I find that contradictory. Such a God isn’t all merciful, but is rather a sort of tyrant, demanding obeisance to Him – or at least His mortal proxies on earth, (wearing unusual clothing)

    in short, I love the Christian people, and consider them the best of the best, but I believe that their leadership has used and abused them, by taking their thirty shekels from the PTB, they’ve sent the flock down the road to perdition, with glib lies about all the wars and going along with the myriad atrocities in the Middle East, that I am absolutely certain the Lamb of Peace would be inconsolable over. You want to know my favorite words from the Bible, from Jesus Christ the Lord?

    these are them:

    “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

    Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

    Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

    Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

    Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

    Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

    Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

    Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you”

    When I read these words, especially from the perspective of what I see going on in the world today, (and the holy land [Gaza] in particular) I feel I’m reading the very words of the son of God. The kind of man who would die slowly on a cross, to save humanity from those who would send son to slay son.

    ~ I didn’t mean to rant, I just sort of do sometimes ~

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  72. We have to thank Fred for disposing of those goddam monkeys and their typewriters. Never again should it be possible for anyone to confound what could happen in an infinite amount of time with what can actually happen in any conceivable amount of time.

    But when Fred declares that

    atheism has to be part of the evolutionist’s mental equipment since if any sort of god exists, or if there is life after death, or anything beyond the laws of physics, then these things might influence existence in a way outside of physics

    he is dead wrong although he is in the company of plenty of distinguished evolutionists.

    Theism, or atheism, is a belief system that could presumably be reduced to neural physics. As such it affects behavior and thus human survival. The ISIS follower who volunteers for suicide work in the expectation of being rewarded with 77 virgins has a belief system that is likely to affect his reproductive chances, though not necessarily in the way he expects. However, the suicide bomber’s belief also affects the reproductive chances of his co-religionists. Hence the potential group selective advantage of martyrdom.

    On human evolution in general, Fred seems under the mistaken impression that evolution works toward ever greater complexity and intelligence, but the fact is that the tapeworm is the evolutionary product of more intelligent ancestors. Thus when Fred writes

    If fitness means the rate of successful reproduction, we encounter the interesting conclusion that a woman with a genetic IQ of sixty and twelve retarded children by forty-five drive-by fathers is more fit than a Harvard math professor who runs Triathlons but has two children.

    he draws the logical conclusion but doesn’t believe it. But the inference is undoubtedly correct: the European peoples are committing suicide by replacing intelligent members of their own group with less intelligent people of their own kind or, increasingly, people, intelligent or otherwise, of an alien race, religion and culture.

    Grasping the totally destructive policies of our own leadership is not rocket science. It’s something you can see happening all around you— the result of the deliberate choices of our elected leaders on such questions as welfare, immigration, education, healthcare, and taxation. Want to end the white race? Vote Hillary.

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  73. @John Jeremiah Smith
    Too long, and a persistent form and repetition of logical failure. Break it up, make it 10 focused essays.

    Science sometimes explains things, but the true essence of science is to describe the world around us. A proof for how "life" came into existence is not a requirement that any of many evolutionary science specialties are required to provide. Sorry.

    I admit to being a bit surprised, and disappointed, that Fred Reed seems to believe that evolutionary studies must trot out proof that life began spontaneously. How come evolutionists have to explain exactly how life happened, and creationists just say "God did it" and they're home free, so to speak? Burden of proof and all, ya know? At the very least, Fred should demand the same level of explanation and proof, da? Heck, don't even get yourself worked up about proving God exists -- just prove God created life, huh? 'Cause assuming God did it is not proof, any more than assuming that life happened spontaneously from interactions of chemical compounds is proof.

    While you're at it, explain where God came from. But, when all is said and done, why bother? Why not let religion be religion, and science be science? Religion explains; science describes.

    Why not let religion be religion, and science be science?

    When will materialists abandon their own assumption that matter can “think”? That seems at least as voodoo as anything any religion has trotted out.

    When Africans do this, it’s called “animism”. When Western philosophers and scientists do it, they give it much more palatable names. Scientific materialism is just one example.

    As for “evolution”, I can’t work up enough energy to have an opinion on it. Just to note the irony of its strongest non-scientist supporters just as vigorously denying its impact on the human race. “Favored races”? Horrors!!

    In addition, irreligionists might go back again (and again and again) to the drawing board, with some humility, and find their own replacement for religion’s excellent track record in inspiring women to breed. Marxism was able to pull it off for awhile, but only by aping the priests.

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  74. @Alden
    The Muslim God is not the same God Christians and Jews worship. He is a pre Islamic local Arabic God of war and the moon

    Jews and Christians both have the old man in the sky Yahweh or God the father. Jews just have the one. Christians added Jesus his son the god/man and the Holy Spirit I believe Protestants ignore the Holy Spirit although they have many colleges churches and schools named Trinity.

    I’ve read some Muslim books and history, and they firmly believe they are worshiping the God of Abraham, the same Great Jehovah that both the Jews and the Christians worship. In fact their founder fought against the Arabs who worshiped the moon god. You may dislike them all you want, may disagree with them with all your heart and soul, but they’re in on Yahweh just like the other two religions. In fact, because they don’t believe in the trinity, follow the Old Testament rules regarding sexuality, marriage, idols, etc., they are closer to Judaism than Trinitarian Christians are.
    Protestants, by the way, believe in the Trinity, you’re thinking of Unitarians.

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  75. everything cannot be known about anything. science is not religion. science self-corrects, even if stubbornly. knowledge is the product of observation. evolution simply means – things change – that the universe is dynamic.
    darwin’s evolutionary theory was about how life behaved after it began, not how it began.
    in some animals gaudy color advertises bad ju ju to those who would eat it.
    complexity is subjective. complexity does not presuppose the supernatural. what was once complex is now simple. and so it goes.

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  76. @Thirdeye
    The irreducible complexity argument has been debunked over and over again and the impossibly low probability argument is a straw man. Verbosity does not make them stronger.

    The more we learn about Earth, the more life looks like one of its fundamental properties. Isotope geochemical indicators of metabolic processes have been dated to less than a billion years after Earth formed. That's 3.5 billion years of life in some form or other.

    Within the last 50 years we have learned that the chemistry of seawater is in equilibrium with the ocean floor, with small variability. That is because the water circulates through mega-geothermal systems and complete circulation through those systems is rapid on a geologic time scale. Those same geothermal systems support thermal polymerization of amino acids, one of the key building blocks for life. A polymerized amino acid that preserves itself by penetrating one of the ubiquitous lipid bubbles gains functionality, one of the defining factors of life. A polymerizing amino acid that gains constituents through the lipid bubble is engaging in a behavior known as "eating," another functionality. A polymerized amino acid that can interact with the lipid bubble to make it grow and divide into two lipid bubbles is reproducing. The requirements for primordial life were pretty simple and there were an inestimable number of chances for amino acid-lipid combinations to develop its characteristics.

    The irreducible complexity argument has been debunked over and over again

    Sad that you don’t give only one link.

    and the impossibly low probability argument is a straw man. Verbosity does not make them stronger.

    But where are the artifacts? If you re right there must be nearly endless remnants in all categories of life.

    Within the last 50 years we have learned that the chemistry of seawater is in equilibrium with the ocean floor, with small variability. … Those same geothermal systems support thermal polymerization of amino acids, …

    This is more an approval of intelligent than disproof. Why should the almighty do anything in detail if he/they can simple create the rules?

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    • Replies: @Thirdeye

    Why should the almighty do anything in detail if he/they can simple create the rules?
     
    Rules, or laws of nature, do not require an almighty. The physical laws of this cosmos result in a durable cosmos that allows such things as formation of differentiated elements of varying mass and chemical properties, the basis for liquids and solids and everything following them, to occur. There is nothing that says they can't be a result of cosmos generation resulting in cosmi with random sets of physical laws, some of which result in a durable, fertile cosmos and others which do not.
  77. The Theory of Evolution is not just about biological evolution. It is part of a grand unified theory that seeks to explain everything (except things that it can’t explain, which it ignores).

    Darwin wrote “On the Origin of Species” – not the “On the Origin of Life.”

    Clearly he did not specify when, or where, or how life started. Science is abusing the notion of evolution. It is stretching it beyond its scope of answers. Evolution can only answer so much – clearly it is not the whole answer.

    What science needs is “On the origin of Organization.” Everything we can think about is an organized conglomeration of different parts. Science needs an integrated theory on when, where, how, and why energy coalesces into a standalone individuals of different parts. There are three major different levels organization in the universe: the physical, the biological, and the intellectual. What is common among them, what communal attributes drives them all.

    This theory must supply an integration of answers on the when, where, how, and why of physical, biological, and intellectual/cultural organization.

    Art

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  78. If fitness means the rate of successful reproduction, we encounter the interesting conclusion that a woman with a genetic IQ of sixty and twelve retarded children by forty-five drive-by fathers is more fit than a Harvard math professor who runs Triathlons but has two children.

    But if left to their own devices (i.e., no Christian charity or government handouts) this mentally retarded mother and her retarded children will die out whereas the Harvard math professor and his two children can obtain gainful employment, survive and reproduce. Darwin is vindicated.

    And those high black and Mestizo birth rates in America which gives the illusion of evolutionary “fitness”? They would implode without government freebies, Medicaid and affirmative action employment as well as a system of law and order that greatly reduces fratricidal violence in those communities. Without billions of dollars in annual food and medical aid to Africa, the black African birth rates plummet and death rates skyrocket. Again, Chuck Darwin wins.

    If white Europeans refuse to adapt to the hostile conditions being created by mass third world immigration and start acting in their racial own interests including mass deportation and the use of lethal force against the invaders, then they will eventually die out and be replaced by them. Chuck Darwin wins yet again.

    If and when the white man passes from this earth in the next 100 years, then Nature will have her revenge on the black and brown masses (and perhaps some orientals) of the world through war, starvation and disease which the white man’s magnanimity and agricultural and medical technology has kept at bay.

    Adaptation to changes in one’s environment is what equals evolutionary fitness.

    It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.
    Charles Darwin

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    • Replies: @Art

    It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.
    Charles Darwin
     
    There is a question as to if Darwin actually uttered those words.


    https://search.yahoo.com/search?fr=mcafee&type=C111US1264D20160114&p=It+is+not+the+strongest+species+that+survive%2C+nor+the+most+intelligent%2C+but+the+ones+most+responsive+to+change.
    , @RaceRealist88

    Adaptation to changes in one’s environment is what equals evolutionary fitness.
     
    No. Number of offspring increases evolutionary fitness. The gene wants to produce more copies of itself, whoever does so is "winning" as more copies of their genes are spread. In comparison to those who breed less. And this would continue with or without society as its mainly mediated by genetics.

    Where you got this notion that adaption to changes in environment equals evolution, I have no idea. But you're wrong. Biological fitness is: "the genetic contribution of an individual to the next generation's gene pool relative to the average for the population, usually measured by the number of offspring or close kin that survive to reproductive age." That's what fitness is. You can't just make up definitions for words.
  79. @John Jeremiah Smith

    In all of this and more, I find abundant meaning in my life without having to beg forgiveness for my existence from any Gods.
     
    Back in '63, when TIME magazine was relevant, they ran a frontpage article premised with "Is God Dead?" It was, predictably, filled with the usual hoo-hoo that Believers pretending to be neutral put forth as significant prose. Garbage, that is.

    God isn't dead. God isn't real. God has never been real. The universe is not a creation. The meaning of life is what you want it to be; millions of people have millions of different perceptions of the awe-inspiring, totes-mystical "meaning of life". For me, it's a mission. So sue me.

    "God" is a failed concept.

    Sir.

    you are entitled to your own opinion, and I will fight to give you that right.

    The universe is not a creation

    so what it is? our mushroom enhanced mind imagination? Because I look up at night and are in awe looking at all those ‘non created lights’ way up in the dark sky. Oh my silly imagination! Imagining lights hanging up there in the ‘firmament’. Must be the mushrooms I ate for dinner.

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  80. First, plausibility was accepted as being equivalent to evidence.

    No, plausibility is most definitely not accepted as evidence. Perhaps you can specify from where exactly you heard this drivel?

    Big bang

    The big bang has nothing to do with evolutionary theory.

    Interestingly, atheism has to be part of the evolutionist’s mental equipment since if any sort of god exists, or if there is life after death, or anything beyond the laws of physics, then these things might influence existence in a way outside of physics–and this cannot be allowed.

    Sorry, but this is nonsense. There are plenty of Christians and other religious people who are fine with evolution. The question of whether a god does or doesn’t exist has nothing to do with evolutionary theory as it is known today. There is no assumption that nothing else can influence evolution. We simply have not yet found any evidence for such a thing.

    First, that life came about accidentally in the ancient seas (highly shaky and certainly not demonstrated).

    Abiogenesis is not a part of evolutionary theory. It is a separate field of study. Nor is there an any assumption as to where and how life arose. These are just speculations.

    If you happen to have a better explanation for the origin of life based on the limited amount of data that we have avaliable, then by all means please share it. If it has sufficient explanatory power, scientists will be thrilled.

    Fifth, that nothing else drives it.

    This is not a component of evolution. If something else drives evolution, then we need evidence for it. We can’t postulate the existance of something for which we currently have no evidence of.

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  81. @Wizard of Oz
    Sorry, I have been reading your comments backwards and have only just realised you are trolling to see who will bite.

    No Mr. Oz:

    I have not idea what trolling is, nor do I wish to know. I am simply placing my opinions here or answering some times. Mr. Oz, may be we do need to get out of our chairs and desks. Go out, visit museums, zoos, malls, get to see the outdoors, your perspective might change, and help you with this drivel and digest the non sense that sometimes is written here.

    BTW, reading others opinions cost us nothing here, the only time that we pay for reading others opinions is when we read books, but here we are free to skip what we consider

    Lets see if ‘troll’ applies to me:

    In Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous,or off-topic messages in an online community.

    If I upset any one, please pardon me, was not my intention at all. Nor do I wish to sow discord, far be it from me to do so.

    thank you

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    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    I believe you. I apologise. But I think you have Fred"s problem with what evolution really entails in spades...and in hearts, diamonds and clubs as well.
  82. @in the middle
    yes,

    No need to be 'intellectual' or highly educated I guess to place a personal input into this subject.

    personally I would like to thank the writer of this article for his incredible insight into the creation of all living creatures. It really made my day by my awe to such insight. To most, the mention of a Creator is anathema, and out of the question. To some evolution just don't make any sense, I am included in that one.

    Some times the truth is so incredible, that most refuse to believe it, especially when humanity has been thought the same lie over and over again. Just think for a moment; Do any of you believe that the earth is flat?.. of course not! we were thought all our lives that the earth is a globe, a sphere, without any proof whatsoever, regardless of its name 'planet' which in Spanish is 'planeta' which means something plane, of flat. When I first found that one, I was upset calling those affirming the earth to be flat, as totally ready for a mental hospital. Not more!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_oDMXi-Qeg


    If you believe the earth is flat, you are half awake!

    Flat earth again, really? I’ve been up in a plane at high altitude and you can visibly SEE that the earth has a curvature. You can also see that the sun is a globe as well as the moon. It’s that simple. The earth is a sphere, hung upon nothing in the void of space, affected by energy currents… going to leave it at that .

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    • Replies: @in the middle
    Mr Eagle:

    I flew AWACS planes in the AF, and I saw the 'flat' horizon constantly. Flat! However, back then I did not think about the flat earth nor was it on my mind. So, if you flew in a plane, so did I, in the cockpit of a military plane at that.

    thank you
  83. @Wizard of Oz
    I find life very enjoyable but don't believe in a Creator or any other interfering or interested deity. So please explain to me how it is that your supposed Creator makes sure that even I find life bearable and indeed much better than that?

    Sir.

    Because you have not choice, but to find life bearable; some people were not able to find life bearable, and decided to end it. I am glad that you find life ‘bearable’. Because life is more than arguments about who made who, and who is right/wrong, etc.

    V/R,

    in the middle

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  84. @Finbar
    And belief in God seems to be of great survival advantage, since the vast majority possess it.

    Life is so wonderful! without it, well, we will be all death! So lest enjoy it while we can, because once it ends, well, cannot enjoy it any more!

    By the way, lets concentrate on important things, like TURMP FOR PRESIDENT!

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  85. Evolution wont do.

    There is an inter- dependence among species that comports with the Abrahamic God’s blueprint of life created ex- nihilo. Nor, is there “survival of the fittest.” Cooperation is the key among humans- who are gifted with deep- pattern abilities to reason; in resemblance of the Creator.

    We certainly exist now.

    And like God, we will always exist.

    Either in perdition, where we will be focused totally on ourselves;

    Or Paradise- for it is written,”What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”

    Prostrate yourselves before the Lord; you learn because of Him!

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    • Replies: @Talha
    Stonehands, ain't nobody that says it the way you do - I might not agree with everything, but I like your style.

    Though you could have stated it more succinctly...
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1xAUfdK9FE

    ;)

    Peace.
  86. @Finbar
    And belief in God seems to be of great survival advantage, since the vast majority possess it.

    Just look at the differences in birth rates of the religious and the vehemently non-religious. It both proves the usefulness of religion and how such usefulness fits in the evolution theory.

    Ironical tidbits like this almost make me believe in a god.

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  87. @Rich
    Belief in the correct god at the right time and place is the great survival advantage. Being a Jew or Christian in ISIS controlled lands is probably not too healthy right now, or a Shia in the wrong part of Iraq, either. In Europe, admission that one did not believe in the god of whatever the king or emperor decreed could result in torture and death not so long ago. Even now, in certain professions, not believing in the current god of political correctness can cause someone to be fired and shunned. Rome didn't fall until the Romans stopped being tolerant of different religions and adopted the Christian faith as the only acceptable religion.

    Pagan Rome was not tolerant of different religions. It persecuted Christians and other Eastern mystery religions, for example.
    When Rome fell in 410 AD, the Roman Empire had long been split into Eastern and Western Empires. The Eastern Empire was much wealthier and more urban than the West. It was also much more Christian as a lot of the rural West remained strongly Pagan.
    In fact, the term Paganus is Latin for an inhabitant of a rural division called a Pagus. Modern French Pays. From which Paysan ( Peasant). It was these rural divisions which remained pagan for a long time.
    The Eastern Empire remained strong and vigorous throughout this period. Constantinople, its capital, remained uncaptured by non-Christians for another 1,000 years after Rome, until 1453 AD, see Sir Stephen Runciman.
    So it looks like Rome fell because it wasn’t CHRISTIAN ENOUGH in the 5th Century, not because it had adopted Christianity.

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    • Replies: @Rich
    I realize that we can all take different opinions on different aspects of history, and you are entitled to see things differently than others, but how do you arrive at the opinion that Pagan Rome wasn't tolerant of different religions? All the gods were represented in Rome, from Astarte to Jupiter to Vulcan. The Gauls were allowed their gods, as well as the Egyptians and others, although the Romans would not allow human sacrifice.. I'm really not sure where you're getting your information from. I know there is some historical reference to minor persecution of a few Christians at some point, but most historians believe this was a very small number.
    Theodosius I banned all religions except Christianity in 391, prior to that Rome was significantly Christian and had begun destroying its pagan altars and temples. Rome fell shortly after its embrace of Christianity and turning away from Paganism, if we use your logic, it was the turning away from Paganism that caused their defeat. How were they safe for all those years sacrificing bulls to Jupiter, but fell when they banned the practice?
    I don't think there are many historians who would agree with your statement that the Eastern Empire was more zealously Christian than the Western, but you are entitled to your opinion.
  88. As an example, consider the view that life arose by chemical misadventure. By this they mean, I think, that they cannot imagine how else it might have come about. (Neither can I. Does one accept a poor explanation because unable to think of a good one?)

    People are allowed to speculate about the origins of life until enough evidence can be found to build up a proper hypothesis, are they not? This speculation is not accepted as any kind of a definitive explanation. If it were, scientists would not be continuing to gather evidence and trying to piece together the mystery of how life originated.

    The sciences, as I knew them, gave clear answers.

    The sciences only give clear answers once the answers become more clear. Speculation is a part of all of the sciences. Before we had Quantum Theory (copenhagen interpretation), we had physicists spending hours a day rambling and musing and engaging each other in theoretical thought experiments. There were popular theories to explain phenomenon; some stuck, some didn’t. Today, we still have many different discussions about theoretical possibilities in all non-evolutionary sciences. Many scientists today believe in string theory despite the lack of (as far as I am aware) concrete evidence for it. Yet you take issue with evolution because it doesn’t give a 100% definitive explanation right this second for every single tiny detail involved in such a massively complex process? Why? What is the difference?

    On Arrogance

    I agree will pretty much all you’ve written here. The universe is full of more mystery than we could ever possibly concieve. It would be unfair to believe that we know more than we do.

    In sum: If we don’t know what conditions existed, or what conditions would be necessary, and can’t reproduce the event in the laboratory, and can’t show it to be statistically probable, and can’t construct something that might have evolved—why are we so very sure that it happened? Would you hang a man on such evidence?

    Well, we know life exists, therefore it is reasonably to believe that it originated somewhere, correct? It also seems reasonable to assume that life originated either on Earth or somewhere in space. Where else would life originate?

    As for how life originated, scientist tend to assume phyisical/chemical processes shaped early life, as we don’t have any evidence of, and therefore, don’t know of any other entity or process which may have been involved with abiogenesis. That, of course, doesn’t mean we will never find any evidence that suggests something else may be involved.

    But an evolutionist cannot say that there is anything he can’t understand, only that there are things he doesn’t yet understand.

    Well what do you want biologists to do, give up and stop looking? Imagine the scientists of old giving up on studying the natural world because they couldn’t give a 100% definitive explanation for every single phenomenon they observed. It’s not like we’re on a time limit or something. We will no doubt know much more about these topics in the coming centuries than we do right now.

    That this just sort of, well, you know, happened is too much to believe. It began being believed when almost nothing was known about the complexity of cellular biology, after which, being by then a sacred text, it could not be questioned. And cannot.

    What cannot be questioned? What, specifically, are you talking about?

    If in an unexplored region of the Amazon Basin you find a grass hut next to a dugout canoe, you may not know who made them, but you suppose that someone must have. This is the theory of Intelligent Design.

    Yes, we know someone must have made them because we happen to know for a fact that grass huts and dugout canoes are made by people.

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  89. Evolution per se is real. We see it everyday. Children resemble their parents, and biological organisms evolve. This is sometimes called ‘micro-evolution’, and it is true that the origin of significantly different species has not been directly observed in our time (THAT was Darwin’s theory, not evolution, but that evolution could actually lead to new species). It is also true that we have not directly observed the creation of life from an accident.

    It is however true that, right now, all the evolution that we see today can be explained by physical processes. Neither divine intervention nor aliens are necessary to explain what we see around us now. It seems reasonable to think about whether these same physical process could, over enough time, give rise to uniquely different species or even spontaneously create life from non-living ingredients. We don’t fully understand how this could come about (yes, it seems like a lot of coincidences would be needed, perhaps more than is plausible on a single planet even over billions of years), and the idea could be wrong, but right now, evolution is the only physically-based theory that MIGHT be able to explain these events. A real scientist should not believe in evolution as a matter of total certainty, but to say that, right now, it seems to be the most plausible physical explanation (subject to change without notice).

    Oh, and the part about an infinite number of monkeys: if you grant the anthropic principle, life would have had billions of years to evolve, not just on earth, but across the entire universe. That is pretty darned close to an infinite number of monkeys.

    Certainly the fossil record – although admittedly incomplete and messy – does suggest the existence of transitional forms and of a long history of life on this planet changing and evolving over time. Oh, and if God planted the fossil record to fool us, well, if God want to fool us we are darned well going to be fooled because he’s God and there is no way that mortal intelligence could out-think him.

    And complex things can be built from simple things – as long as total entropy increases. That happens all the time. Look how intricate snowflakes grow from simple unformed water…

    Suppose that someday, in a laboratory, someone mixed a bunch of chemicals together and primitive life arose on its own. That still wouldn’t prove that that’s how life did occur, but it would make it plausible. Or if all such attempts and simulations consistently fail, well, then the opposite. In the meantime let the scientists work on it.

    A catholic priest once commented to me on evolution “How glorious to be given even a glimpse of God’s great plan”. I think, for now, I will stick with that. Just because something is physical doesn’t make it any less miraculous.

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    • Replies: @ogunsiron
    I haven't participated in an evolution debate in ages, but I remember that some of the smarter creationists had no problem with what they called micro-evolution. Micro-evolution is pretty hard to refute given that it's not only plausible but it's been observed. Micro-evolution + large amounts of time = macro-evolution. That is it.

    I'm surprised that so many unz readers seem to be under the impression that they *have* to reject evolutionary theory because the left weaponizes it.

  90. @ZG1000
    Fred is most likely suffering from existential angst as he ponders deep questions about the how and why life came about. Indeed, why does he or anything for that matter exist? He covers an awful lot of ground in his essay and I'll only touch on a couple of questions he raises. He writes "Which means that the brain cannot, and thus we cannot, make choices. Physical systems cannot choose what to do." Wrong. The laws of physics are not quite as deterministic as Fred apparently believes. There's Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle. There's quantum mechanics. Or one could just consider a simple snowflake for example. About the only deterministic statement a physicist would conclude about their formation is that they form hexagonal structures. With an estimated 10 to the nineteenth molecules that make up a single snowflake you would have to look for a very, very, very long time to find two that are identical. In other words it's virtually impossible to predict the exact shape of a snowflake before the water droplet becomes a snowflake. Physicists don't have a problem with that. Similarly there's no conflict between science and the idea of choice and free will. As for the origin of the first living cells or why we clever humans have not figured out how to create one in the lab, well perhaps Fred answered that himself with his monkeys and typewriters analogy.

    Fine Comment;
    Fred’s political views are OK but sad to see him biting off so much to chew.
    The old Bible explains the creation of Eve from a guy’s rib which is so wrong that
    I think a ration person would conclude that the entire book is just all made up.
    So meditate upon the existence of your Yorkshire Terrier, evolved by conscious evolution
    of many English dog breeding experiments.
    Hmmm, so maybe the universe also evolved by a Cosmic biologist’s tinkering. Dunno.
    I doubt that Fred Reed will go to a faith healer if pneumonia strikes, God forbid.
    A licensed Medical doctor would be a more rational choice.

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  91. @KenH

    If fitness means the rate of successful reproduction, we encounter the interesting conclusion that a woman with a genetic IQ of sixty and twelve retarded children by forty-five drive-by fathers is more fit than a Harvard math professor who runs Triathlons but has two children.
     
    But if left to their own devices (i.e., no Christian charity or government handouts) this mentally retarded mother and her retarded children will die out whereas the Harvard math professor and his two children can obtain gainful employment, survive and reproduce. Darwin is vindicated.

    And those high black and Mestizo birth rates in America which gives the illusion of evolutionary "fitness"? They would implode without government freebies, Medicaid and affirmative action employment as well as a system of law and order that greatly reduces fratricidal violence in those communities. Without billions of dollars in annual food and medical aid to Africa, the black African birth rates plummet and death rates skyrocket. Again, Chuck Darwin wins.

    If white Europeans refuse to adapt to the hostile conditions being created by mass third world immigration and start acting in their racial own interests including mass deportation and the use of lethal force against the invaders, then they will eventually die out and be replaced by them. Chuck Darwin wins yet again.

    If and when the white man passes from this earth in the next 100 years, then Nature will have her revenge on the black and brown masses (and perhaps some orientals) of the world through war, starvation and disease which the white man's magnanimity and agricultural and medical technology has kept at bay.

    Adaptation to changes in one's environment is what equals evolutionary fitness.

    It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.
    Charles Darwin

    It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.
    Charles Darwin

    There is a question as to if Darwin actually uttered those words.

    https://search.yahoo.com/search?fr=mcafee&type=C111US1264D20160114&p=It+is+not+the+strongest+species+that+survive%2C+nor+the+most+intelligent%2C+but+the+ones+most+responsive+to+change.

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  92. @A German__

    The irreducible complexity argument has been debunked over and over again
     
    Sad that you don't give only one link.

    and the impossibly low probability argument is a straw man. Verbosity does not make them stronger.

     

    But where are the artifacts? If you re right there must be nearly endless remnants in all categories of life.

    Within the last 50 years we have learned that the chemistry of seawater is in equilibrium with the ocean floor, with small variability. ... Those same geothermal systems support thermal polymerization of amino acids, ...
     
    This is more an approval of intelligent than disproof. Why should the almighty do anything in detail if he/they can simple create the rules?

    Why should the almighty do anything in detail if he/they can simple create the rules?

    Rules, or laws of nature, do not require an almighty. The physical laws of this cosmos result in a durable cosmos that allows such things as formation of differentiated elements of varying mass and chemical properties, the basis for liquids and solids and everything following them, to occur. There is nothing that says they can’t be a result of cosmos generation resulting in cosmi with random sets of physical laws, some of which result in a durable, fertile cosmos and others which do not.

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    • Replies: @a German___

    The physical laws of this cosmos result in a durable cosmos that allows ...
     
    And who/what etc has made that laws, that cosmos etc? For me it's just a problem shift to bigger (out of sight) structures.

    There is nothing that says they can’t be a result of cosmos generation resulting in cosmi with ...
     
    Shure, but there is no science in parallel cosmi too. It's similar to a church, for true believers.
  93. @in the middle
    No Mr. Oz:

    I have not idea what trolling is, nor do I wish to know. I am simply placing my opinions here or answering some times. Mr. Oz, may be we do need to get out of our chairs and desks. Go out, visit museums, zoos, malls, get to see the outdoors, your perspective might change, and help you with this drivel and digest the non sense that sometimes is written here.

    BTW, reading others opinions cost us nothing here, the only time that we pay for reading others opinions is when we read books, but here we are free to skip what we consider

    Lets see if 'troll' applies to me:

    In Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous,or off-topic messages in an online community.

    If I upset any one, please pardon me, was not my intention at all. Nor do I wish to sow discord, far be it from me to do so.

    thank you

    I believe you. I apologise. But I think you have Fred”s problem with what evolution really entails in spades…and in hearts, diamonds and clubs as well.

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  94. @TG
    Evolution per se is real. We see it everyday. Children resemble their parents, and biological organisms evolve. This is sometimes called 'micro-evolution', and it is true that the origin of significantly different species has not been directly observed in our time (THAT was Darwin's theory, not evolution, but that evolution could actually lead to new species). It is also true that we have not directly observed the creation of life from an accident.

    It is however true that, right now, all the evolution that we see today can be explained by physical processes. Neither divine intervention nor aliens are necessary to explain what we see around us now. It seems reasonable to think about whether these same physical process could, over enough time, give rise to uniquely different species or even spontaneously create life from non-living ingredients. We don't fully understand how this could come about (yes, it seems like a lot of coincidences would be needed, perhaps more than is plausible on a single planet even over billions of years), and the idea could be wrong, but right now, evolution is the only physically-based theory that MIGHT be able to explain these events. A real scientist should not believe in evolution as a matter of total certainty, but to say that, right now, it seems to be the most plausible physical explanation (subject to change without notice).

    Oh, and the part about an infinite number of monkeys: if you grant the anthropic principle, life would have had billions of years to evolve, not just on earth, but across the entire universe. That is pretty darned close to an infinite number of monkeys.

    Certainly the fossil record - although admittedly incomplete and messy - does suggest the existence of transitional forms and of a long history of life on this planet changing and evolving over time. Oh, and if God planted the fossil record to fool us, well, if God want to fool us we are darned well going to be fooled because he's God and there is no way that mortal intelligence could out-think him.

    And complex things can be built from simple things - as long as total entropy increases. That happens all the time. Look how intricate snowflakes grow from simple unformed water...

    Suppose that someday, in a laboratory, someone mixed a bunch of chemicals together and primitive life arose on its own. That still wouldn't prove that that's how life did occur, but it would make it plausible. Or if all such attempts and simulations consistently fail, well, then the opposite. In the meantime let the scientists work on it.

    A catholic priest once commented to me on evolution "How glorious to be given even a glimpse of God's great plan". I think, for now, I will stick with that. Just because something is physical doesn't make it any less miraculous.

    I haven’t participated in an evolution debate in ages, but I remember that some of the smarter creationists had no problem with what they called micro-evolution. Micro-evolution is pretty hard to refute given that it’s not only plausible but it’s been observed. Micro-evolution + large amounts of time = macro-evolution. That is it.

    I’m surprised that so many unz readers seem to be under the impression that they *have* to reject evolutionary theory because the left weaponizes it.

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    • Replies: @RaceRealist88

    Micro-evolution is pretty hard to refute given that it’s not only plausible but it’s been observed. Micro-evolution + large amounts of time = macro-evolution. That is it.
     
    This is all that needs to be said. The amount of mental gymnastics and word games I see creationists and anti-evolutioners use is hilarious.
  95. @Alden
    Homosexuality is caused by testosterone levels excreted by the mother during pregnancy. 3 times during a pregnancy a woman excretes more than usual levels of testosterone. If all goes well, enough is excreted that the fetus becomes a heterosexual boy; or, less is excreted and the fetus remains a heterosexual girl

    But sometimes the amount excreted is not enough to make the fetus a heterosexual boy or too much so the fetus becomes a lesbian girl
    Hermaphrodites are created when not enough testosterone is excreted to turn the fetus into a complete boy.

    More info in any anatomy book

    Based on ”imprinted brain theory” homossexuality would be like the mixing of sexual traits of both sexes resulting in the broad and diverse spectrum of the sexual inversion.

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  96. @Rurik

    1) For some of us, the deprivation of the world of the intellect as well as of purpose would deprive life of meaning twice over, and the absence of meaning or, as you say, the acceptance of lack of meaning, must mean suicide. We therefore sustain ourselves with the illusion of meaning.
     
    "meaning"

    do we get meaning for our lives by telling ourselves that we were put here by a deity (or deities or some other agent) who put us here for a purpose? Is that the only way our lives can have meaning? And please consider, what most of these Gods want and indeed, expect from us is homage. Just like a tribal chieftain. That's what they demand. Fealty and submission to them for their generosity for having created us and this world, so that we can either pass the test by prostrating ourselves to them, and forsaking the material world for an ascetic life devoid of the animal pleasures of being alive. And always with some earthly representative to collect the tithes.

    For me, that sounds like a life of torture.

    We have one shot at this. We were blessed with this chance at existence by providence, (but not necessarily a God) and if we blow it by rejecting it and all its bounty, why then we'll have certainly have committed the greatest sin there is.

    why can't we find meaning in the sunrise, and a gentle kiss from our loved one? Why isn't there adequate meaning in the smile of our child or the devoted love from our dog? The sound of the ocean waves crashing on the sand, or from a sublime work of art. Why must meaning only come from blind servility to a (often tyrannical) deity? What's wrong with getting meaning from the simple understanding and appreciation that we were blessed with this unlikely (miraculous) existence in a universe that is far more vast that we could ever comprehend in a thousand lifetimes, and filled with infinite nothingness and gases and rocks and exploding suns. The chances of such a planet as earth and the unlikely miracle of the advent of DNA (life itself) even in this galaxy (with billions of stars and billions of planets) is incredibly remote. And we! were born (evolved) on this miraculous earth, with its water and temperate climate. It's so fantastically improbable that we should greet every morning with a heartfelt benediction, not to a (man-made) jealous God, who wants us to fall to our knees and beg forgiveness for our existence, but rather to the amazingly wonderful thing that has happened.

    When people say they want you to thank some God or Gods for our life, what they're trying to do is tell you that the gift of life is something you don't own. It isn't yours to do with as you please. Rather it was given to you under certain conditions, and that you have to toe the line in order to fulfill your end of the bargain. This always amounts to service of some kind, and sacrifice on your part, to this God's earthly representatives. Isn't that something? God has anointed certain of his mortals to be his tax collectors, and his proxies for you to bow down to. Have you ever wondered about that? Why does God need proxies?

    Anyways, I don't want to get into all that. I just want to point out that being mortal is a great gift (that you don't have to be ashamed of or indebted for). That having this chance at life is an ineffable and wondrous thing. Just because we're not in possession of some kind of infinity of choices that would mean we possess a "Free" Will, is no reason to pooh-pooh our experience of life. It's just as wondrous and has even far more meaning when you come to appreciate how tenuous and fragile and precious it all really is. IMHO

    you want to know what Free Will really is? It's a parent telling you to behave- or else. They're saying 'you chose to eat that cookie when I said not to, and so now you must be punished'. It's the same thing from the church and state. They're saying 'we are telling you how to act and how to think and what to believe, and if you defy us, it's because you choose to, and therefor you deserve to burn in hell for ever and ever and ever with pitchforks shoved up your arse. It's all about control, and submission and domination. And they will be the dominators thankyouverymuch.

    I truly belive that once you come to appreciate that we are no more than animals, just like the rest of the animal kingdom, that what happens is you are able to walk back into the garden of Eden, and realize that all these other wonderful creatures are your cousins, and made of flesh and blood, just like you. And that interpreting a smile on a dog, is not some anthropomorphic act of projecting your emotions onto a unfeeling object; an "animal", but rather you're actually able to share a genuine smile and all the meaning behind it across species. It's just as real for the dog as it is for you. And no one says dogs are divine, but they obviously are made of the same things we are. If we were created by a God, then so are they. If we are different from them, then the difference if one of degree, not of kind.

    In all of this and more, I find abundant meaning in my life without having to beg forgiveness for my existence from any Gods. Rather I revel in it. I own it. It's mine to do with as I please, and I owe no one or no God any gratitude for it. And believing thus, I suspect that I'm nevertheless one of the most grateful people to be alive that I know.

    “you want to know what Free Will really is? It’s a parent telling you to behave- or else. They’re saying ‘you chose to eat that cookie when I said not to, and so now you must be punished’. It’s the same thing from the church and state. They’re saying ‘we are telling you how to act and how to think and what to believe, and if you defy us, it’s because you choose to, and therefor you deserve to burn in hell for ever and ever and ever with pitchforks shoved up your arse. It’s all about control, and submission and domination. And they will be the dominators thankyouverymuch. ”

    You are right. It is just like a parent telling a child what to do. To be raised up in Godliness and not gluttony.
    The same with a Christian education. To foresake the pleasures of the flesh, for the renewal of the mind in Christ Jesus.

    Bible believing Germans settled an area of Philadelphia that is now a disgraceful hellpit, inhabited by the results of 3 generations of scripture being banned from your communist school system.I invite you to come “frolic” with some of the godless natives in Germantown and
    Norfphillynigga….

    Gods not interested in you purchasing indulgences [tithes] for your sins, he seeks repentence.

    After all this isn’t about you- its about service to others.

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  97. Anyone have a link to some of the great debunkings of irreducible complexity that have been referred to in the comments?

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    • Replies: @Thirdeye
    If you can't find more information than you probably want to know under the web search "irreducible complexity debunked," you are either lazy or willfully ignorant. Get cracking.
  98. How one passes on one’s genes by not passing them on is a mystery of population genetics.

    It’s not a mystery. People in developed nations have not stopped having children. They are simply have fewer children and they are having them later in life. They are more prudent about bringing children into the world than third worlders are. First worlders prefer to delay having children until they are better prepared to financially support them and give them a reasonable quality of life. I don’t know why exactly this is. Maybe there was some sort of advantage to this general prudency in some societies in the recent evolutionary past.

    [MORE]

    When this is pointed out, evolutionists hem and haw (or should I say hem and her?), sometimes say that evolution no longer applies to humans, (though they simultaneously insist that evolution is ongoing and rapid).

    Perhaps the people who say evolution no longer applies to humans aren’t the same people who say evolution is continuing. I would think this much is obvious.

    and then often blame falling populations on contraception, as if this were an outside force, like drought or a new predator.

    Evolution works through reproduction, so you would think that the ability to more readily control reproduction would have quite an impact on a population’s future. Drought and new predators are part of an animal’s environment, and will therefore shape the evolutionary future of an affected species. Contraception is part of our cultural environment and will likely have an effect on human populations.

    But saying that contraception causes falling populations ls like saying that spears cause hunting.

    Spears contribute greatly to hunting. That, in turn, affects the future of humans. Contraception contributes greatly to not having children. This, in turn, will probably affect the future of humans.

    People wanted to eat, so they invented spears. They wanted not to have children, so they invented contraception.

    Humans didn’t necessarily evolve to spend a lot of time actively thinking about wanting to have children. The did evolve to actively seek sex. Do animals think about having kids when they are banging? I highly doubt it. I’ve heard it said that there have been tribes of people (in Australia/Africa, I believe) that hadn’t made the connection between sex and babies before explorers arrived.

    Which brings us to a baffling question. Why does a trait with very little or no reproductive value–the fold–become universal.

    It seems like quite a jump in logic to go from “We don’t know how the epicanthic fold became widespread among East Asians” to “it has very little to no reproductive value”.

    when traits such as high intelligence, great physical prowess, astonishing eyesight, and so on not become even common? The genes for all of these already exist in the population without the need for mutations.

    Because those traits aren’t needed. People with below average eyesight and strength have been (and still are) reproducing just fine.

    Consequently it is hard to image Darwinian selection occurring with much ferocity.

    Just because everyone can have the same number of children, doesn’t necessarily mean that they do. There is still a difference in the amount of offspring people are having. Some people have none while others have relatively big families. This difference exists at both the individual level and at group levels.

    But…but knowing what a tarantula looks like when you have never seen one, or seen anything, knowing that you need to sting it and just how, that you need to dig a burrow and drag the spider to it, and cover it up, when all of this has to occur in order or the whole process fails….

    You have to be smoking Drano.

    It would make sense for behaviors that are quite conductive to reproduction to evolve to become at least somewhat instinctual.

    Catching the mosquito without laying the eggs, or squashing the mosquito in the process, or laying eggs in mid air without having caught the mosquito, would seem a losing proposition. None of these awfully-lucky mutations would be of use without the others. How do you evolve this elaborate dance by gradual steps?

    There’s not enough Drano.

    I could probably think of some plausible senarios that may have been involved in the evolution of a bot fly if I thought about it long enough. However, none of that matters, as it would just be more speculation. The fact that you cannot conceive of all of the gradual steps in such a process, does not, in and of itself, mean that such a thing did not evolve. It would be better to wait until we have more evidence so we can paint a better picture of how animals such as the bot fly came about. Maybe we will find evidence which completely contradicts evolutionary theory entirely. In that case, we will simply have to adjust our theories accordingly. No big deal.

    But what is the alternative that you are driving at? That some force that exists outside of the universe and the laws of physics is conspiring/driving to have bot fly larva burrow into humans and other mammals?

    Admittedly, I don’t get it.

    Human beings are conspicuous in the natural world for being weak and slow, and for having poor senses of smell and hearing. Why?

    Because those traits aren’t needed for reproduction. If there is no seletion for a trait, then why would it be selected for?

    Monkeys also heavily rely on sight, and their sense of smell and hearing are not too different from our own. Bird senses are somewhat similar in some ways as well.

    One is that because humans walk upright, they can see farther on open veldt and thus have substituted vision for other senses that just are not necessary.

    Sight is also very useful for animals that lived in in trees for many millions of years.

    Otherwise in a cave society when the first woman through mutation appeared with big ones, we would hear one cave man say to another, “Geez, Urk Urk, what’s wrongwith Sally?” “Beats, me, Ralph. Maybe it’s cancer.” But why would there be a preference for large breasts when there were no large breasts to prefer?

    Well, for one thing, it is much more likely that the evolution of larger breasts developed gradually over a very long time, rather than Sally sprouting big ones out of nowhere.

    The condition would seem to be a prime candidate for elimination by evolution.

    I have no idea what the answer for “gayness” is. Anectdotally, I knew a kid in high school who was openly gay. He ended up married to a woman. Go figure.

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  99. Nice essay Fred.

    I think that any theory concerning almost anything that was developed before the development of the theory of Quantum Mechanics is almost bound to be wrong.

    The only thing we know for sure is that we know nothing.

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  100. @Verymuchalive
    Pagan Rome was not tolerant of different religions. It persecuted Christians and other Eastern mystery religions, for example.
    When Rome fell in 410 AD, the Roman Empire had long been split into Eastern and Western Empires. The Eastern Empire was much wealthier and more urban than the West. It was also much more Christian as a lot of the rural West remained strongly Pagan.
    In fact, the term Paganus is Latin for an inhabitant of a rural division called a Pagus. Modern French Pays. From which Paysan ( Peasant). It was these rural divisions which remained pagan for a long time.
    The Eastern Empire remained strong and vigorous throughout this period. Constantinople, its capital, remained uncaptured by non-Christians for another 1,000 years after Rome, until 1453 AD, see Sir Stephen Runciman.
    So it looks like Rome fell because it wasn't CHRISTIAN ENOUGH in the 5th Century, not because it had adopted Christianity.

    I realize that we can all take different opinions on different aspects of history, and you are entitled to see things differently than others, but how do you arrive at the opinion that Pagan Rome wasn’t tolerant of different religions? All the gods were represented in Rome, from Astarte to Jupiter to Vulcan. The Gauls were allowed their gods, as well as the Egyptians and others, although the Romans would not allow human sacrifice.. I’m really not sure where you’re getting your information from. I know there is some historical reference to minor persecution of a few Christians at some point, but most historians believe this was a very small number.
    Theodosius I banned all religions except Christianity in 391, prior to that Rome was significantly Christian and had begun destroying its pagan altars and temples. Rome fell shortly after its embrace of Christianity and turning away from Paganism, if we use your logic, it was the turning away from Paganism that caused their defeat. How were they safe for all those years sacrificing bulls to Jupiter, but fell when they banned the practice?
    I don’t think there are many historians who would agree with your statement that the Eastern Empire was more zealously Christian than the Western, but you are entitled to your opinion.

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  101. @Vendetta
    Anyone have a link to some of the great debunkings of irreducible complexity that have been referred to in the comments?

    If you can’t find more information than you probably want to know under the web search “irreducible complexity debunked,” you are either lazy or willfully ignorant. Get cracking.

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  102. too long. I think I can help the less academic reader, with a few main points. Darwinism is not science. It was created to explain the fact of evolution, without needing an Intelligent Designer. Darwinist’s opponent was Aristotle, not ‘Seven-day Creationists’. and his idea of ‘tele-ology’, science at a distance. Most readers will know the example of the acorn and the oak tree. In other words, Aristotle predicted ‘evolution’ – purposeful change over time, in the direction of increasing complexity – whereas the Darwinist ‘steam engine’ machine metaphor and ‘Newtonian billiard ball physics’ model, predicts ‘entropy’ – the universe tending toward chaos, disorder, freezing cold, collapsing. Second, evolution is a fact: anyone can go out on a weekend, with a hammer, and chip off layers of sediment, find the older ones at the bottom full of simpler organisms, and/or the earliest ancestor on a common classification ‘tree’. At the time, the main theory/mechanism to explain evolution was the academic biology ‘giant’ of the 19th c, Lamarck. Lamarck claimed that animal’s DNA adapted to their environment. We would call this ‘systems theory, and feedback’. Obviously, like Aristotle’s teleology, this change was not an ‘accident’. Darwinist [Wallace's theories] claimed that the mechanism was more akin to selective breeding, where the DNA already existed, and a changing environment would ‘naturally select’ the individuals who best fit the new ecological niche. This contradicts the fact that the change in the geological record is not gradual; Darwin hoped missing layers of sediment would be found in the future. No. And it contradicts the fact that all dog breeds are still the same dog species. Later Darwinists speculated that radiation could cause mutations in genes. All mutations from harmful radiation have proven to be disadvantageous. All examples given today to ‘prove’ ‘darwinist evolution’ [versus speciation], are in fact using the ideas of Aristotle and Lamarck.

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    • Replies: @Thirdeye
    Feedback from the environment is not necessary for mutations to occur. Mutations themselves are neither good or bad.

    You might read up on the Lysenko affair to see how Lamarckian ideas panned out in practice. Freezing seeds of warm-climate plants did not increase their survivability in cold conditions.
  103. Your failure to imagine how it works is not the theory of evolution’s failing.

    Different species evolved differently, and something that was a strong factor in one species evolutionary path is not always even a factor in another species.

    I would honestly suggest you read up on the theory from the actual scientists studying the theory so you can understand it instead of reading so much into the critics. You should know better than to buy into arguments from authority and yet here you are making those arguments and also arguing against them.

    This article is a waste of space.

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  104. @Neil Sutherland
    too long. I think I can help the less academic reader, with a few main points. Darwinism is not science. It was created to explain the fact of evolution, without needing an Intelligent Designer. Darwinist's opponent was Aristotle, not 'Seven-day Creationists'. and his idea of 'tele-ology', science at a distance. Most readers will know the example of the acorn and the oak tree. In other words, Aristotle predicted 'evolution' - purposeful change over time, in the direction of increasing complexity - whereas the Darwinist 'steam engine' machine metaphor and 'Newtonian billiard ball physics' model, predicts 'entropy' - the universe tending toward chaos, disorder, freezing cold, collapsing. Second, evolution is a fact: anyone can go out on a weekend, with a hammer, and chip off layers of sediment, find the older ones at the bottom full of simpler organisms, and/or the earliest ancestor on a common classification 'tree'. At the time, the main theory/mechanism to explain evolution was the academic biology 'giant' of the 19th c, Lamarck. Lamarck claimed that animal's DNA adapted to their environment. We would call this 'systems theory, and feedback'. Obviously, like Aristotle's teleology, this change was not an 'accident'. Darwinist [Wallace's theories] claimed that the mechanism was more akin to selective breeding, where the DNA already existed, and a changing environment would 'naturally select' the individuals who best fit the new ecological niche. This contradicts the fact that the change in the geological record is not gradual; Darwin hoped missing layers of sediment would be found in the future. No. And it contradicts the fact that all dog breeds are still the same dog species. Later Darwinists speculated that radiation could cause mutations in genes. All mutations from harmful radiation have proven to be disadvantageous. All examples given today to 'prove' 'darwinist evolution' [versus speciation], are in fact using the ideas of Aristotle and Lamarck.

    Feedback from the environment is not necessary for mutations to occur. Mutations themselves are neither good or bad.

    You might read up on the Lysenko affair to see how Lamarckian ideas panned out in practice. Freezing seeds of warm-climate plants did not increase their survivability in cold conditions.

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  105. @Alden
    Homosexuality is caused by testosterone levels excreted by the mother during pregnancy. 3 times during a pregnancy a woman excretes more than usual levels of testosterone. If all goes well, enough is excreted that the fetus becomes a heterosexual boy; or, less is excreted and the fetus remains a heterosexual girl

    But sometimes the amount excreted is not enough to make the fetus a heterosexual boy or too much so the fetus becomes a lesbian girl
    Hermaphrodites are created when not enough testosterone is excreted to turn the fetus into a complete boy.

    More info in any anatomy book

    : Nonsense. What you describe is absolutely unscientific and cannot force anyone to commit homosexual acts. People choose to commit homosexual acts of their own free will. As Fred said in the article, this is a moral question and not dictated by physics.

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  106. blessed are the peacemakers for they shall see god.I guess that means that the neocons who control American foreign policy are going to fry in hell.

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  107. I read it all, Fred, all 2 million + words. Enlightened and extremely entertained with laughter.
    Damn you are good, but then I have known that for 25 years.
    Fred Reed is a National Treasure that the United States of America let get away.
    If Trump wins and has any common sense, Fred Reed will come back to us as a presidential adviser.

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  108. @KenH

    If fitness means the rate of successful reproduction, we encounter the interesting conclusion that a woman with a genetic IQ of sixty and twelve retarded children by forty-five drive-by fathers is more fit than a Harvard math professor who runs Triathlons but has two children.
     
    But if left to their own devices (i.e., no Christian charity or government handouts) this mentally retarded mother and her retarded children will die out whereas the Harvard math professor and his two children can obtain gainful employment, survive and reproduce. Darwin is vindicated.

    And those high black and Mestizo birth rates in America which gives the illusion of evolutionary "fitness"? They would implode without government freebies, Medicaid and affirmative action employment as well as a system of law and order that greatly reduces fratricidal violence in those communities. Without billions of dollars in annual food and medical aid to Africa, the black African birth rates plummet and death rates skyrocket. Again, Chuck Darwin wins.

    If white Europeans refuse to adapt to the hostile conditions being created by mass third world immigration and start acting in their racial own interests including mass deportation and the use of lethal force against the invaders, then they will eventually die out and be replaced by them. Chuck Darwin wins yet again.

    If and when the white man passes from this earth in the next 100 years, then Nature will have her revenge on the black and brown masses (and perhaps some orientals) of the world through war, starvation and disease which the white man's magnanimity and agricultural and medical technology has kept at bay.

    Adaptation to changes in one's environment is what equals evolutionary fitness.

    It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.
    Charles Darwin

    Adaptation to changes in one’s environment is what equals evolutionary fitness.

    No. Number of offspring increases evolutionary fitness. The gene wants to produce more copies of itself, whoever does so is “winning” as more copies of their genes are spread. In comparison to those who breed less. And this would continue with or without society as its mainly mediated by genetics.

    Where you got this notion that adaption to changes in environment equals evolution, I have no idea. But you’re wrong. Biological fitness is: “the genetic contribution of an individual to the next generation’s gene pool relative to the average for the population, usually measured by the number of offspring or close kin that survive to reproductive age.” That’s what fitness is. You can’t just make up definitions for words.

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    • Replies: @RaceRealist88
    "Where you got this notion that adaption to changes in environment equals evolution"

    Where you got this notion that adaption to changes in environment equals FITNESS ***
    , @KenH

    No. Number of offspring increases evolutionary fitness.
     
    No shit, Sherlock, but adaptation is another critical component to survival. If an organism or species does not adapt to its environment it will die out and cannot pass along its genes. If it doesn't survive it can't evolve. This is Darwinism 101.

    The Neanderthals didn't disappear because they didn't reproduce. They had to compete with Cro-Magnon interlopers who were more organized and had better weapons (although Neanderthals were physically stronger). The Neanderthals failed to adapt to their changing environment and were largely killed off. More Neanderthal babies wouldn't have changed the outcome.

  109. @ogunsiron
    I haven't participated in an evolution debate in ages, but I remember that some of the smarter creationists had no problem with what they called micro-evolution. Micro-evolution is pretty hard to refute given that it's not only plausible but it's been observed. Micro-evolution + large amounts of time = macro-evolution. That is it.

    I'm surprised that so many unz readers seem to be under the impression that they *have* to reject evolutionary theory because the left weaponizes it.

    Micro-evolution is pretty hard to refute given that it’s not only plausible but it’s been observed. Micro-evolution + large amounts of time = macro-evolution. That is it.

    This is all that needs to be said. The amount of mental gymnastics and word games I see creationists and anti-evolutioners use is hilarious.

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  110. @RaceRealist88

    Adaptation to changes in one’s environment is what equals evolutionary fitness.
     
    No. Number of offspring increases evolutionary fitness. The gene wants to produce more copies of itself, whoever does so is "winning" as more copies of their genes are spread. In comparison to those who breed less. And this would continue with or without society as its mainly mediated by genetics.

    Where you got this notion that adaption to changes in environment equals evolution, I have no idea. But you're wrong. Biological fitness is: "the genetic contribution of an individual to the next generation's gene pool relative to the average for the population, usually measured by the number of offspring or close kin that survive to reproductive age." That's what fitness is. You can't just make up definitions for words.

    “Where you got this notion that adaption to changes in environment equals evolution”

    Where you got this notion that adaption to changes in environment equals FITNESS ***

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  111. I once confounded and intrigued two Mormon missionaries at my door by stating” God IS Evolution.” A Hegelian solution here: thesis, antithesis = synthesis.

    The late guru Robert Anton Wilson described the problem afflicting modern science as “fundamentalist materialism.” Despite the implications of quantum physics to explain so-called “paranormal” or psi phenomena, it is anathema to them, reeking of the “spiritual” which, of course, is mere primitive superstition. And despite rigorous experiments by the Stanford Research Institute, the PEAR lab, etc. See Dean Radin’s book, The Conscious Universe.

    Another heretic is the biologist Rupert Sheldrake, who posits a “morphogenetic grid” driving evolution; i.e., an intangible field of information possibly coextant with ZPE (Zero Point Energy). Likewise, his experiments demonstrating the psychic abilities of dogs and other animals, are routinely dismissed. If we can’t measure in a lab, it doesn’t exist, except…

    Gravity. We infer and accept the existence of gravity, despite neither gravitational waves or particles ever detected by our most finely tuned lab machinery. (the recent report of a possible gravitational wave detected in some far off galaxy, lasting a sub-millisecond, is about the funniest thing I’ve heard in years. Your beaker drops and smashes on the floor, but it takes this desperately far-fetched and fugitive method to discern gravity!)

    Our planet has evolved, too, and the astounding complexity and delicate balance that enables life on this sphere is supposedly another lucky happenstance.

    No. There is indeed something we don’t understand, and God has been the default moniker for it— an intelligence operating at some recondite level. Or what the ski-fi writer Philip K. Dick intuited as VALIS — Vast Active Living Intelligence System.

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  112. @Thirdeye

    Why should the almighty do anything in detail if he/they can simple create the rules?
     
    Rules, or laws of nature, do not require an almighty. The physical laws of this cosmos result in a durable cosmos that allows such things as formation of differentiated elements of varying mass and chemical properties, the basis for liquids and solids and everything following them, to occur. There is nothing that says they can't be a result of cosmos generation resulting in cosmi with random sets of physical laws, some of which result in a durable, fertile cosmos and others which do not.

    The physical laws of this cosmos result in a durable cosmos that allows …

    And who/what etc has made that laws, that cosmos etc? For me it’s just a problem shift to bigger (out of sight) structures.

    There is nothing that says they can’t be a result of cosmos generation resulting in cosmi with …

    Shure, but there is no science in parallel cosmi too. It’s similar to a church, for true believers.

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  113. Thank you for laying out so clearly the flaws in evolutionary theory. In college I was a biology major and accepted the premise of mutation and random selection as the driving force behind life on earth. I subsequently lost interest, biology was mechanics. A decade later I took another look at it and, over the course of a few years, came to see evolutionary theory just as it is described in this article, as worthless. But, outside of the evangelical churches, I encountered a cultural wall that was virtually insurmountable. Each attempt at argument was answered by the accusation that I was a creationist and therefore misguided and laughable. It is a widespread and deeply ingrained ideology, not a science.

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  114. TB:DR*

    1. walls of words are not convincing, no matter the source… i suggest a brutal editor…
    2. when you talked about how evolution is thought of popularly as leading to ‘better’, ‘improved’ organisms, i *thought* you were mentioning what *other* (ignorant) people thought about evolution; but then it appears from what little i read elsewhere, you did not take that lesson to heart…
    3. frankly, didn’t even get to what precocious, precious *you* thought was the mechanism that got us here; but if ‘creationism’ of some sort, well, you *are* a little coward, aren’t you ? ? ?
    it takes NO intelligence nor ‘reasoning’ AT ALL to simply ‘believe’ genesis literally, or whatever permutation YOU (not your non-existent sky-daddy) decides is viable…
    you simply wave your magic book, and everything is ‘explained’ (sic)…
    lazy, lazy, lazy…

    (*Too Boring: Didn’t Read)

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  115. I agree with many of Fred’s comments in the latter part, but surely the four-cycle insects may well have been the original form, the post-pupal form being barely more than a worm at first, but having the head-thorax-abdomen segmentation, with an egg-nymph-adult branch appearing very early.

    I am only interested in insects as an amateur (more than most), but what happens in the eggs of the egg-nymph-adult (two-cycle form, as Fred has it) types, I don’t know. I would guess that it is a tiny worm before becoming a tiny nymph then hatching.

    Insects are close to other arthropods relative to vertebrates, one can assume an ultimate origin from, but not in, the seas of long ago. So few insects have adapted to life in the water. I love to watch water skaters.

    Many or most of the truly acquatic arthropods (crustaea & c.) lay their eggs in a form that is part of plankton, becoming a tiny worm, then adopting the segmented structure of its species.

    It is easier to see how that may have lead to the egg-larva-pupa cycle.

    The monotreme, marsupial, placental mammal difference is not so far from that.

    Monotremes give birth to an egg, much as with birds and reptiles, after hatching, it has a similar form to the adults.

    Marsupials give birth to a worm-like thing, it develops in the pouch.

    Placental mammals, there is no longer a pouch, everything proceeds in the womb.

    One can imagine a process leading to the transition from eggs with shells to pouch. Female monotremes have mammary glands, their being protected would grant advantage, at first by a covering over the secretionary glands for the newly hatched form, that would encourage the development of species without an external egg stage.

    On the other hand, it is hard to imagine realistic steps in getting from a pouch around the mammary glands to separate teats and a womb, and the plumbing adjustments involved, perhaps it falls under ‘irreducable complexity’.

    Speaking of birds, it always interests me how juvenile starlings quickly reach the same size as the adults, but look very different. That is off the point, but a small point of fascination.

    Also, the vaunted ‘thousands of millions of years’ of evolution, it only applies to single-celled organisms, I feel sure that they made colony organisms at times, perhaps complex multicellular forms, there is scant evidence for the former, none for the latter, though my own opinion is that they must have been there at times.

    Pre-Cambrian and Cambrian forms, just about all extinct.

    So, really just several hundred million years for multicellular life as we knom it.

    The eye: arthropods have various forms, the trilobites had another, cephalapods have yet another, vertebrates, many variations on the same theme.

    Humans as an average are continuing to de-evolve at an increasingly dizzy pace, until the coming collapse (later this century, I would expect, and not everywhere). The process will further accelerate at that time.

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  116. @RaceRealist88

    Adaptation to changes in one’s environment is what equals evolutionary fitness.
     
    No. Number of offspring increases evolutionary fitness. The gene wants to produce more copies of itself, whoever does so is "winning" as more copies of their genes are spread. In comparison to those who breed less. And this would continue with or without society as its mainly mediated by genetics.

    Where you got this notion that adaption to changes in environment equals evolution, I have no idea. But you're wrong. Biological fitness is: "the genetic contribution of an individual to the next generation's gene pool relative to the average for the population, usually measured by the number of offspring or close kin that survive to reproductive age." That's what fitness is. You can't just make up definitions for words.

    No. Number of offspring increases evolutionary fitness.

    No shit, Sherlock, but adaptation is another critical component to survival. If an organism or species does not adapt to its environment it will die out and cannot pass along its genes. If it doesn’t survive it can’t evolve. This is Darwinism 101.

    The Neanderthals didn’t disappear because they didn’t reproduce. They had to compete with Cro-Magnon interlopers who were more organized and had better weapons (although Neanderthals were physically stronger). The Neanderthals failed to adapt to their changing environment and were largely killed off. More Neanderthal babies wouldn’t have changed the outcome.

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  117. @Stonehands
    Evolution wont do.

    There is an inter- dependence among species that comports with the Abrahamic God's blueprint of life created ex- nihilo. Nor, is there "survival of the fittest." Cooperation is the key among humans- who are gifted with deep- pattern abilities to reason; in resemblance of the Creator.

    We certainly exist now.

    And like God, we will always exist.

    Either in perdition, where we will be focused totally on ourselves;

    Or Paradise- for it is written,”What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”

    Prostrate yourselves before the Lord; you learn because of Him!

    Stonehands, ain’t nobody that says it the way you do – I might not agree with everything, but I like your style.

    Though you could have stated it more succinctly…


    ;)

    Peace.

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  118. “Countries with declining populations intentionally import inferior but more-fecund genetic groups.”

    Where can I read more about superior genetic groups?

    It’s just a quick provocation. This is my first text on this subject. I really appreciate, thanks.

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  119. Re: Panspermia

    A paper came out in 2013 speculating on a version of Moore’s Law regarding overall DNA complexity. Extrapolating back, life is about twice as old as the the Earth. Many people added/refined info on this paper to the Wikipedia article on “Panspermia” but it was eventually deleted by some self important editor for being “fringe research”. This on the “Panspermia” article no less. WTF??? That’s Wikipedia for you. I guess the Panspermia proponents don’t want to be associated with fringe science. LOL.

    “As life has evolved, its complexity has increased exponentially, just like Moore’s law. Now geneticists have extrapolated this trend backwards and found that by this measure, life is older than the Earth itself.”

    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/513781/moores-law-and-the-origin-of-life/

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  120. @White Eagle
    Flat earth again, really? I've been up in a plane at high altitude and you can visibly SEE that the earth has a curvature. You can also see that the sun is a globe as well as the moon. It's that simple. The earth is a sphere, hung upon nothing in the void of space, affected by energy currents... going to leave it at that .

    Mr Eagle:

    I flew AWACS planes in the AF, and I saw the ‘flat’ horizon constantly. Flat! However, back then I did not think about the flat earth nor was it on my mind. So, if you flew in a plane, so did I, in the cockpit of a military plane at that.

    thank you

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  121. I never understood (nor I understand) why creationism is a less plausible explanation than the chemical ‘misadventure’.

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    • Replies: @Astuteobservor II
    because they believe in the bible, a book written by goat herders, expanded and refined by priests over 2 thousand years.

    they also believe in a 6 thousand years old earth, humans riding dinosaurs etc.
    , @Talha
    Hey Seraphim,

    Depends on what you define as 'creationist' because that could include people who think the Earth is just a few thousand years old and believe in absolutely literal interpretation of words like 'days' in scripture or those who have no inherent problem with interpreting 'days' as epochs and otherwise believing the mechanism of evolution is quite real, but simply guided by the Divine in a purposeful direction. Obviously, one interpretation will get less traction in the scientific community than the other.

    For the record, I find it quite interesting that the same planet that houses the critical elements for life just happens to also have a single satellite (the moon), the orbit and distance of which, periodically coincides with the relative position of the sun (at magnitudes of larger distance and size) to provide a fascinating spectacle where their discs appear to overlay almost exactly - one that can really only be appreciated by highly intelligent life. What are the chances of that configuration? Funny how the coincidences keep piling up for this planet.

    Peace.

  122. it seems the best way for evolutionists to answer fred’s billion dollar question is to come up with a theory like the big bang, but for evolution.

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  123. @Seraphim
    I never understood (nor I understand) why creationism is a less plausible explanation than the chemical 'misadventure'.

    because they believe in the bible, a book written by goat herders, expanded and refined by priests over 2 thousand years.

    they also believe in a 6 thousand years old earth, humans riding dinosaurs etc.

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    • Replies: @Seraphim
    And how the fact that the bible was written by goat herders makes it less plausible?
  124. Jung looks at the universe as a single intelligent organism. The planet Earth as a particularly successful part of this single organism. Human consciousness is an attempt by this being to conceptualise itself – to see itself. The whole of evolution is driven forward as a project that has as its purpose self-awareness.
    All pretty simple.

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  125. @in the middle
    No one can explain where God came from. It might be because there is not need for it. I Personally don't have the need to know where God came from.
    When I was in the service and was told 'need to know' I never question it, because some things are well... need to know, and may be God does not tells us where and how he came from based on that, 'need to know'.
    I could not comprehend the deluge for a long, long time, I questioned how could a 'globe' be flooded. Until, until I started to view videos and thinking on the crazy and more crazy idea of a flat earth! Well, several videos on Utube which are brilliantly exposed and mathematically detailed have brought me to the conclusion the we were lied, and how that lie came about by sun worshipers (capernicus), even though they 'created' that lie without any facts! So go ahead and ridicule me if you will, but before that, study and review those info videos and come back afterwards if you still incredulous.

    Respectfully,

    in the middle

    Hey ITM,

    No one can explain where God came from. It might be because there is not need for it.

    Correct, insofar as if the very definition, of what one deems to be the Supreme Being/God, necessarily includes that which is eternal without beginning or end (aka completely transcends time/space). Then it makes about as much sense to ask “When did…” or “From where did…” in relation to God as it does to ask why a square must necessarily have four corners and only four.

    One does not have to believe in God and say all of this is a bunch of hoo-hah, of course, but to ask certain questions answered by the very definition of that Being, doesn’t make much sense.

    Peace.

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  126. I read this article with great interest and saw that it failed to deliver…

    On how physics work, even a layman like I can see that Fred is having it wrong. Like the last 100 years of physics just bypassed him. Which is not so important to the article in total as his remarks on physics seem rather off-topic.

    Most other flaws have also been pointed out by a few astute readers. Like the mixup between evolution as a description of a process, then concrete products assumed to have been made by the process of evolution (with hard-to-believe complexity for a seemingly completely random process), then finally the idea of origin of life itself. These are three distinct things, mixed up over and over in this article. What Fred says, ultimately, is that we have mostly a somewhat educated guess about the origin of life. Fair enough. What does this have to do with evolution? How does one observable phenomenon become falsified by speculation about another? It doesn’t.

    Now, Fred is a logical thinker, I give him that. The problem is that by deducing from wrong axioms or misunderstood axioms one can prove almost anything, and even if Fred’s “proof” was in itself consistent, he got a lot of things wrong by getting fundamentals wrong, not properly outlining or defining his terms, etc. Fred articulates a skepticism about one speculative branch of science, mashes it up with an observation of behaviors inherent in part of the scientific community, and this disproves the theory of evolution how? Then irreducible complexity is paraded out and a simple Wikipedia search provides an excellent example why this is a sham: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irreducible_complexity

    With only the information from that article and that from Fred’s, I can easily construct a plausible explanation for one of Fred’s many “unexplained phenomena:” Like, how does the wasp have all the pattern recognition built in to find its host. The explanation is that it did not evolve in making this particular wasp. Pattern recognition existed in insects before more “refined” designs entered the evolutionary cycle. Pattern recognition was already useful in simpler organisms to help them achieve tasks with less energy (because of eliminating more unncessary steps). If any organism in the wasp’s chains of genetical ancestors actually had pattern recognition, and most of the earlier “models” of wasp had, as other wasps do that do not expose the same complex behavior, then it is a genetic building block inherent in the DNA that the wasp does not have to evolve out of nothing. I don’t need to write a 30 page article to see this. One lengthy paragraph is enough.

    Most other components of the wasp’s chosen mode of reproduction are already solved somewhere in older versions of the wasp _for other purposes_. Flight, the ability to find a specific victim, to execute an attack pattern, to lay eggs, etc. All of this is already built into more simple ancestors for sure. It is not hard to imagine that laying eggs into fruit is the predecessor of laying eggs into a living being. The missing part is then simply to develop a predilection for a certain host (which the mother wasp already had, so why shouldn’t the larvae have it?) and the ability to burrow out in a certain way. Nowhere is it proven that other ways would not be sufficient to do a less than perfect job at burrowing out. Maybe earlier versions _did_ kill their host earlier. Who says that would not suffice? Where does this information come from? It is simply an assumption and could be easily wrong. What you really see with this wasp is a highly complex end product, but all the parts were there already for the taking. It is feasible that few mutations could lead from A to D over B and C.

    So where is the problem? The problem is with all of Fred’s unwritten assumptions. Like “a complex process with many steps that depend on each other for success cannot be built step by step” – this seems to be implied by Fred. Even my simplistic thoughts on the topic show that there is a viable way for this behavior to evolve over various steps. I am just not claiming it happened this way. But there are not as many blanks here as Fred suggests. Quite the opposite.

    Fred simply leaves a lot of things out. And in spite of his claimed reading he seems to not have done the simplest homework. The lengthiness of the article changes nothing about the validity of its content.

    BTW, “inferior” populations? Great Scot! That’s thinly veiled racism. So is the social “darwinism” of some people responding here. This is effectively making common ground with the intellectual basis of Nazism. Oops, Godwin’s Law. I have to end here…

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  127. @Astuteobservor II
    because they believe in the bible, a book written by goat herders, expanded and refined by priests over 2 thousand years.

    they also believe in a 6 thousand years old earth, humans riding dinosaurs etc.

    And how the fact that the bible was written by goat herders makes it less plausible?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Astuteobservor II
    what you are saying is that you believe a bunch of goat herders talked to god 2000 years ago, and the bible/whatever came into existence? god's words?

    by the way, I love how you pick just one part of the comment to reply to.

  128. Of course life is more complex than we now understand. From there you don’t jump on a magic carpet ride to the planet Dumbshit and then conclude there might be fingers working behind the curtain. If you think that is logical than stay in theology, stay in bars, babble on the internet, stay away from science, it doesn’t need you.

    Read More
  129. If Fred has a problem with the plausibility of the theory of evolution then he needs to propose a more plausible alternative. If he thinks an omnipotent Deity high in the sky created our world and everything in it makes much more sense then he belongs in a padded room. If that is so, then why didn’t we have computers, high speed internet, nuclear power, air travel, air conditioning, television, Dancing with the Stars and other amenities of technological civilization in say, 2000 B.C.?

    Why do civilizations rise and fall? Does Fred’s bearded Deity play favorites or does genetic decline and the loss of raw brain power and other qualities, martial and other, critical to the sustainment of advanced civilization play a pivotal role in many cases? Or, in the case of Baghdad in 1258, the torchbearers of Islamic civilization were simply slaughtered to the tune of one million by the Mongol hordes and Islamic genius was lost forever.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Seraphim
    How the fact that you can now spew nonsense at an ever increasing speed over high-speed internet made the 'chemical accident' more plausible than the fingers behind the curtains?
  130. @Seraphim
    I never understood (nor I understand) why creationism is a less plausible explanation than the chemical 'misadventure'.

    Hey Seraphim,

    Depends on what you define as ‘creationist’ because that could include people who think the Earth is just a few thousand years old and believe in absolutely literal interpretation of words like ‘days’ in scripture or those who have no inherent problem with interpreting ‘days’ as epochs and otherwise believing the mechanism of evolution is quite real, but simply guided by the Divine in a purposeful direction. Obviously, one interpretation will get less traction in the scientific community than the other.

    For the record, I find it quite interesting that the same planet that houses the critical elements for life just happens to also have a single satellite (the moon), the orbit and distance of which, periodically coincides with the relative position of the sun (at magnitudes of larger distance and size) to provide a fascinating spectacle where their discs appear to overlay almost exactly – one that can really only be appreciated by highly intelligent life. What are the chances of that configuration? Funny how the coincidences keep piling up for this planet.

    Peace.

    Read More
  131. This is a nice thoughtful article. What Fred forgot to mention is that the omniscient and omnipotent God of Creationists couldn’t possibly be interested in evolution as worshipful mortals are absolutely worthless to an all-powerful, all- knowing God. Darwinists, who are nothing more than British lovers, and other evolutionists have always been logically and mathematically wrong because their arrogance demands that that the unknowables in creation can be made knowable.
    Fact is, more than enough proof exists that brains and neurons are not required for intelligence and consciousness, some jellyfishes are genetically far more complex than humans, and neocons/ neoliberalcons with nukes do not have brains nor morality.. obama’s and hillary’s existence is absolute proof that evolution and God does not exist.

    Read More
  132. .” If that is so, then why didn’t we have computers, high speed internet, nuclear power, air travel, air conditioning, television, Dancing with the Stars and other amenities of technological civilization in say, 2000 B.C.? ”

    Man’s passions never change.

    You are here to pass the test not alter the test.

    Read More
  133. @KenH
    If Fred has a problem with the plausibility of the theory of evolution then he needs to propose a more plausible alternative. If he thinks an omnipotent Deity high in the sky created our world and everything in it makes much more sense then he belongs in a padded room. If that is so, then why didn't we have computers, high speed internet, nuclear power, air travel, air conditioning, television, Dancing with the Stars and other amenities of technological civilization in say, 2000 B.C.?

    Why do civilizations rise and fall? Does Fred's bearded Deity play favorites or does genetic decline and the loss of raw brain power and other qualities, martial and other, critical to the sustainment of advanced civilization play a pivotal role in many cases? Or, in the case of Baghdad in 1258, the torchbearers of Islamic civilization were simply slaughtered to the tune of one million by the Mongol hordes and Islamic genius was lost forever.

    How the fact that you can now spew nonsense at an ever increasing speed over high-speed internet made the ‘chemical accident’ more plausible than the fingers behind the curtains?

    Read More
    • Replies: @KenH
    I asked first. Tell me why your all powerful Deity made us wait so long for the good things in life. And give me something better than "God works in mysterious ways".
  134. I’m now in my late 60s. I live in Britain and since the 1950s the extraordinary David Attenborough has been producing tv documentaries on natural history. This admirable man is a devoted Darwinian. Many years ago I found myself, just as Fred has, becoming worried by the facile attribution of evolutionary advantage to every behaviour or physical characteristic. It just seemed too pat.
    So, well done Sir, for your excellent look at the subject, without giving any succour to creationists.

    Read More
  135. The only starling that ever evolved was Clarice Starling. So says Dr. Hannibal Lecter, bless be his name’. He has been eating Darwinists for breakfast over three decades, and he found no pound of flesh meaty enough to substantiate their bloody evolutionism claims.

    Seriously though, evolutionism has never been a science or theory.. It is a wild guess or conjecture at best. All, or 100% of evolutionist claims do not have formal baseline causality frameworks.. Its alleged findings therefore cannot be proven, tested and replicated as leading to evolutionary imperatives and steps. Steps also that were not ever defined.

    Worse, evolutionists never defined life itself. Intelligence and life could have sprouted from dark matter and dark energy as easily as from regular matter and energy.

    Read More
  136. @Seraphim
    How the fact that you can now spew nonsense at an ever increasing speed over high-speed internet made the 'chemical accident' more plausible than the fingers behind the curtains?

    I asked first. Tell me why your all powerful Deity made us wait so long for the good things in life. And give me something better than “God works in mysterious ways”.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Seraphim
    Maybe he waited for a person deserving all these goodies like you to emerge from the 'chemical accidents'.
  137. @KenH
    I asked first. Tell me why your all powerful Deity made us wait so long for the good things in life. And give me something better than "God works in mysterious ways".

    Maybe he waited for a person deserving all these goodies like you to emerge from the ‘chemical accidents’.

    Read More
    • Replies: @KenH
    That really settles the matter. Of course, I didn't expect to get a straight answer.
  138. @Rurik
    once you accept that it's impossible to know how the first DNA molecule came into existence, the rest seems fairly simple.

    we don't need to know how life started to understand how it evolves. The Neanderthals are gone because "we" killed them off and replaced them. Soon, we'll be replaced by AI, perhaps using some of the carbon based life forms to augment its evolution. Perhaps we'll morph into a kind of AI/organic synthesis.

    the way I see it, when people ask me where the missing link is, I say it's us. We're the missing link. We're poised between the animal world and the Gods. Much, much closer to the animals. We've only just began the trip to post-animal existence, and in 99.99999% of our existence, were 100% animal. (even if we don't always want to admit it)

    There's just a hint of the divine. And that hint is found in Fred's grasping attempt to understand his place in the universe. {which is the question that ultimately motivates both religion and science} To ask of his life, why? Animals don't self-reflect and wonder at why they exist, they simply do. Modern humans wonder why (or think they know), but the fact is, there is no why. That's the next hurdle in human cultural evolution. To understand that there is no why, and be comfortable with it. Indeed, to revel and exult in such knowledge.

    Personally when I hear people's angst and their squeamishness at the knowledge that we're only animals and are driven by instincts and chemicals and physics that we don't ultimately control with some kind of volitional free will, I want to tell them 'yes! and how wonderful is that?!' You see if we weren't put here by the Gods, or some God, or aliens, but rather have simply come to exist by some quirk of the universe, and are really animals, and automatons driven by instincts to eat and roam and fuck and frolic, enjoying all the fruits of the senses and all the wonders of life, just for the fun of it, well then how cool is that?!

    We humans are incredibly unlikely accidents, and we're not beholding to anyone or anything, least of all some God or Gods. (perhaps that's one of the real glories of living after the Renaissance and the age of science) We're free to revel in life, and be amazed at the singular miracle of our existence. Every breath is a treasure, once you come to understand the unlikelihood of it all. Not only that we exist, but that we're able to look at ourselves and be aware of ourselves and indeed, marvel at it all.

    If we were put here by a God, who expected us to worship Him and pay homage to Him and crawl on our bellies in humility and fear of Him, then that's not too fun. But if we were an infinitesimally unlikely accident, of, as Fred mentions, to the n'th degree, now wow, what great luck!

    As for consciousness, what it is, is the unlikely benefit of having such a large brain, that as you're out foraging for food, (going to work), or seeking a mate- unlike most of the animal kingdom, they're unaware of these instincts (and hormones and enzymes and dendrites and synapsis) all firing and flowing and functioning and tweaking our sense of ourselves, as we (these machines that we are) live in this incredible world, we (almost alone, with the dolphins and other advanced life forms) are able to be aware of it all, and as we feel it, we're also able to reflect on it all. It's a byproduct of the functioning of our brains, that we have this amazing thing called consciousness, that allows us to reflect on it all, and be aware that we're going through this phenomena called living.

    It's incredible. No?

    Those are just a few of my thoughts on all this.

    I like these kinds of conversations.

    But I would prefer to take the issues one by one, so to speak. Not that it wasn't fun to comment on this.

    Rurik,

    How do I get on your mail list? I like the way you think.

    The Scalpel

    Read More
    • Replies: @Rurik
    Hey The Scalpel,

    you've got a great website there. I shall surely be perusing it with pleasure..

    for now I'm only a humble commenter here on the exalted Unz Review, (for which I am exceedingly grateful to Mr. Unz for providing to us all)

    alas, I have no website or mailing list

    but I'm working on it, and will link to it when I can get that kind sophistication under my belt

    thanks for your words of support. From the looks of your site, I'd put it down to 'great minds', and all that ; )
  139. I admire the kindness of Unz, in publishing this kind of derelict thing, but the general critical tone of the comments here tells us something about the necessary conditions for any rational conservatism that can challenge progressive supremacy; mainly it has to be based at least in part in evolutionary theory.

    Anyone who thinks an intellectual conservatism should owe more to first century anarcho-Galilean agitators and their obscurantist Greek accomplices (Jesus and St Paul) than to Darwin must be stark raving bonkers. It’s no coincidence that the harshest criticisms of Darwinism in the early 20th century came from the religious left (Bryan) and proto SJWs.

    I only make these meta political points because the ‘scientific’ content of Reed’s piece is so low and has been responded to so often by the likes of Dawkins and Dennett. I just wonder how anti-Darwinian conservatives see the pieces of their world views coming together, since so much of a conservative case against the progressive order is based on that order’s neglect of basic evolutionary, competitive logic.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Seraphim
    Talking about Dawkins and Dennett, how could you forget Christopher Hitchens, whose drunken ravings made everyone's day? Or Sam Harris? The four pompous asses who featured in the sitcom "The Four Horsemen of the New Atheism" (missing the laugh track).
  140. Religious people seem to be required to produce proof for all of their beliefs, and historical documentation or personal experience do not count as evidence. Yet evolutionists somehow escape this requirement and, using Fred’s word, can use plausibility as their evidence.

    If a Christian were to say that his worldview, with its basic outline of our origins, is consistent with what is observed and therefore plausible, then he’d be mocked and ridiculed. Yet, as Fred points out, evolutionists do something similar and their statements are often upheld as Truth.

    Read More
  141. @The Scalpel
    Rurik,

    How do I get on your mail list? I like the way you think.

    The Scalpel

    Hey The Scalpel,

    you’ve got a great website there. I shall surely be perusing it with pleasure..

    for now I’m only a humble commenter here on the exalted Unz Review, (for which I am exceedingly grateful to Mr. Unz for providing to us all)

    alas, I have no website or mailing list

    but I’m working on it, and will link to it when I can get that kind sophistication under my belt

    thanks for your words of support. From the looks of your site, I’d put it down to ‘great minds’, and all that ; )

    Read More
  142. @Seraphim
    Maybe he waited for a person deserving all these goodies like you to emerge from the 'chemical accidents'.

    That really settles the matter. Of course, I didn’t expect to get a straight answer.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Seraphim
    Why do you need an answer when you gave it to yourself before asking the question?
  143. New Book: America Was Built On Slavery And It Was Much Worse Than You Might Imagine
    Slaves as money. A breeding industry. Founding fathers of white supremacy.
    By Steven Rosenfeld / AlterNet
    October 2, 2015

    AddThis Sharing Buttons
    Share to Facebook15.9KShare to TwitterShare to Google+Share to More415Share to Email
    Print
    433 COMMENTS

    Engraving, circa 1700, featuring white colonists and black slaves.
    Photo Credit: Lawrence Hill Books

    [MORE]

    This August, when Hillary Clinton met with Black Lives Matter protesters, they told her that ongoing violence and prejudice against blacks was part of a long historic continuum where, for example, today’s prison system descended from the old Southern plantations. Slavery, Clinton replied, was the “original sin… that America has not recovered from.”

    But how much do modern Americans really know about slavery in colonial America? In the genocide of Native Americans? In the War of Independence or the drafting of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights? Or afterward for decades until the Civil War? Chances are, not very much. Not that slaves, for example, were money in the antebellum South—currency and credit—which led to the enforced, systematic break-up of black families in generation after generation. There was no national currency, and little silver or gold, but there was paper tied to slaves bought on credit whose offspring were seen as a dividend that grew over time.

    That’s just one of the riveting and revolting details from a new book, The American Slave Coast: A History of The Slave Breeding Industry, by Ned and Constance Sublette. They trace other telling details that are not found in traditional American history books, where slavery is usually described as an amoral but cheap labor system. For example, have you read about the rivalry between Virginia and South Carolina, which had competing slave economies?

    Virginia was the epicenter of a slave breeding industry, in which enslaved women were expected to be constantly pregnant, were sold off if they didn’t produce children, and sometimes were force-mated to achieve that end. The offspring were sold to newer settlers and those migrating west. Charleston, South Carolina, in contrast, was colonial America’s slave importing and exporting port. In the late seventeenth century, Carolina exported captured native Americans as slaves to Caribbean plantation islands, gradually replacing them with imported laborers. As the South was emptied of native Americans and American plantations grew, South Carolina became the major slave importer in the colonies and in the early republic. Virginia eventually won out when Congress, at President Thomas Jefferson’s urging, banned slave importation as of January 1, 1808—protectionism, say the Sublettes, for Virginia’s slave-breeding industry, and sold to the public as protection against the alleged terrorism of “French negroes” from Haiti. After that, a new interstate slave trade grew, propelled by territories and new states that wanted slavery, and by the breeders who wanted new markets. Thus, the slave-breeding economy spread south and west, driving the expansion of the U.S. into new territories.

    Slavery, as the Sublettes describe it, wasn’t a sidebar to early American history and a new nation’s growth. It was front and center—protected by law and prejudice, custom and greed. The enslaved were unloaded, sold, and taken (women’s necks tied with rope, men’s necks put in chains) via major roads, steamboats, and passing through cities and villages to their destination. Newspapers, owned by Benjamin Franklin, sold advertising for buying and selling slaves. All of this unfolded in full sight, with prosperous settlers assuming that slaves were a necessity for daily living and accumulating wealth. For generations, the property value of slaves was the largest asset in America.

    The authors, Ned and Constance Sublette, are not traditional scholars, but gifted cultural historians. Ned Sublette, who was born in Lubbock, Texas, and lived in Natchitoches, Louisiana as a boy, was trained as a musician and created the record company Qbadisc in the 1990s—featuring top Cuban artists long before Ry Cooder’s Buena Vista Social Club. His book Cuba and Its Music is considered by many to be the most authoritative on the island’s unique mix of African and European traditions and musical heritage. He realized that the conditions of different forms of slavery—French, Spanish, American—accounted for key differences between Afro-Latin and African-American culture. His second book, The World That Made New Orleans, deconstructs how successive waves of slave importation, under Spanish, French and then American rule, created that city’s music. But throughout his research, working with his wife, Constance, the Sublettes realized that the history of slavery—especially its most vicious form that took hold in North America—was largely untold, unknown, and explained much about the violence, racism and exploitation that is at the core of U.S. history. The American Slave Coast is the result of 15 years of inquiry.

    It’s an epic volume—668 pages before footnotes and citations—and a lot to digest. But if Americans are ever to come to terms with the anti-black violence that endures today, it is necessary to understand the roots of an economy and culture that has needed and feared Africans. For example, take Jefferson and America’s founding documents: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Most Americans know that slaves had no rights. Or they know that the slave-owning Jefferson cynically wrote, “All men are created equal” in the Declaration, and owned slaves and had several slave children. But they probably don’t realize how the Constitution and Bill of Rights enshrined into law an economic system where the major form of property was slaves, and created a government to protect the wealth of that system’s upper class.

    Today’s right-wing fetish about the Constitution’s perfection ignores input by prominent Virginians and Carolinians, including many signers of the Declaration of Independence, to protect slave property. As their book points out, the gun-toting militias sanctioned by the Second Amendment were a guarantee that slave owners could hunt and kill escaped slaves and Native Americans. The Sublettes stunningly trace how fear (of slave revolts) and self-interest (protecting slave-tied wealth) played a major role in framing America’s founding documents. But they go further and demonstrate why Jefferson is the the founding theorist of white supremacy in America.

    It’s not just that Jefferson owned slaves, including his own children who were 7/8ths white. Nor was it his letters with the leading men of his day—like George Washington—explaining how owning slaves was better than other investments. Nor was it his ugly and racist description of blacks in Notes From The State of Virginia, where in the 1780s he wrote, “Their griefs are transient. Those numberless afflictions… are less felt, and sooner forgotten with them. In general, their existence appears to participate more of sensation than reflection.” Mostly, it was Jefferson’s lifelong belief that slaves could not be freed but had to be deported en masse, because sizeable numbers of ex-slaves would take up arms and annihilate slave-owning whites. These prejudices, fears and draconian remedies reverberate today—such as Donald Trump’s bid to deport 11 million migrants.

    The American Slave Coast starts with the horrible truth that America—unlike the French and Spanish colonies in the Caribbean—was a slave-breeding society from colonial times through emancipation. There was no path to freedom for slaves, because, say the Sublettes, “no escape from the asset column could be permitted.” Black families were intentionally broken up as part of creating an economic system for a new nation. As Ned Sublette said, “Writing this book revolutionized our understanding of our history.” Constance Sublette adds, “No matter how bad you thought slavery was, it was worse than that.”

    Read More
    • Replies: @ogunsiron
    New Book: America Was Built On Slavery And It Was Much Worse Than You Might Imagine
    Slaves as money. A breeding industry. Founding fathers of white supremacy.
    By Steven Rosenfeld / AlterNet
    -----
    Eagerly waiting for Mr Rosenfeld's book on ((( dutch ))) slavery, especially in Suriname.
    Do tell us about the Joodensavane, Mr Rosenfeld. Do tell us how those ((( white males ))) ran Suriname in such a way that at the time of Voltaire, Suriname was know as the worst possible place that a black african slave could be sent to.
    , @OutWest
    Why dwell on the past. I can see your slavery and raise you with my Irish heritage. At least in slavery there’s a property interest to protect. Several centuries of genocide –latent and actual- with only occasional actual slavery can be tough too.

    But my point is that I don’t teach victimhood to my children or grandchildren and my father didn’t to me. If it’s in the past leave it there rather than nursing the ongoing character rot than victimhood yields.
  144. @KenH
    That really settles the matter. Of course, I didn't expect to get a straight answer.

    Why do you need an answer when you gave it to yourself before asking the question?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Astuteobservor II
    why the question when you are the same? don't you also have the answer already? or are you saying you are open to opinions?
  145. @blankmisgivings
    I admire the kindness of Unz, in publishing this kind of derelict thing, but the general critical tone of the comments here tells us something about the necessary conditions for any rational conservatism that can challenge progressive supremacy; mainly it has to be based at least in part in evolutionary theory.

    Anyone who thinks an intellectual conservatism should owe more to first century anarcho-Galilean agitators and their obscurantist Greek accomplices (Jesus and St Paul) than to Darwin must be stark raving bonkers. It's no coincidence that the harshest criticisms of Darwinism in the early 20th century came from the religious left (Bryan) and proto SJWs.

    I only make these meta political points because the 'scientific' content of Reed's piece is so low and has been responded to so often by the likes of Dawkins and Dennett. I just wonder how anti-Darwinian conservatives see the pieces of their world views coming together, since so much of a conservative case against the progressive order is based on that order's neglect of basic evolutionary, competitive logic.

    Talking about Dawkins and Dennett, how could you forget Christopher Hitchens, whose drunken ravings made everyone’s day? Or Sam Harris? The four pompous asses who featured in the sitcom “The Four Horsemen of the New Atheism” (missing the laugh track).

    Read More
  146. @Seraphim
    And how the fact that the bible was written by goat herders makes it less plausible?

    what you are saying is that you believe a bunch of goat herders talked to god 2000 years ago, and the bible/whatever came into existence? god’s words?

    by the way, I love how you pick just one part of the comment to reply to.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Seraphim
    The question is: why is it implausible that a bunch of goat herders talked to god (actually God talked to them). Obviously, you can't answer it.
  147. @Seraphim
    Why do you need an answer when you gave it to yourself before asking the question?

    why the question when you are the same? don’t you also have the answer already? or are you saying you are open to opinions?

    Read More
  148. I’m pretty sure my dogs think I’m god because I perform inexplicable miracles, like turning on a room light or opening a can of food.

    Read More
  149. @Accumulo
    New Book: America Was Built On Slavery And It Was Much Worse Than You Might Imagine
    Slaves as money. A breeding industry. Founding fathers of white supremacy.
    By Steven Rosenfeld / AlterNet
    October 2, 2015

    AddThis Sharing Buttons
    Share to Facebook15.9KShare to TwitterShare to Google+Share to More415Share to Email
    Print
    433 COMMENTS

    Engraving, circa 1700, featuring white colonists and black slaves.
    Photo Credit: Lawrence Hill Books

    This August, when Hillary Clinton met with Black Lives Matter protesters, they told her that ongoing violence and prejudice against blacks was part of a long historic continuum where, for example, today’s prison system descended from the old Southern plantations. Slavery, Clinton replied, was the “original sin... that America has not recovered from.”

    But how much do modern Americans really know about slavery in colonial America? In the genocide of Native Americans? In the War of Independence or the drafting of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights? Or afterward for decades until the Civil War? Chances are, not very much. Not that slaves, for example, were money in the antebellum South—currency and credit—which led to the enforced, systematic break-up of black families in generation after generation. There was no national currency, and little silver or gold, but there was paper tied to slaves bought on credit whose offspring were seen as a dividend that grew over time.

    That’s just one of the riveting and revolting details from a new book, The American Slave Coast: A History of The Slave Breeding Industry, by Ned and Constance Sublette. They trace other telling details that are not found in traditional American history books, where slavery is usually described as an amoral but cheap labor system. For example, have you read about the rivalry between Virginia and South Carolina, which had competing slave economies?

    Virginia was the epicenter of a slave breeding industry, in which enslaved women were expected to be constantly pregnant, were sold off if they didn't produce children, and sometimes were force-mated to achieve that end. The offspring were sold to newer settlers and those migrating west. Charleston, South Carolina, in contrast, was colonial America’s slave importing and exporting port. In the late seventeenth century, Carolina exported captured native Americans as slaves to Caribbean plantation islands, gradually replacing them with imported laborers. As the South was emptied of native Americans and American plantations grew, South Carolina became the major slave importer in the colonies and in the early republic. Virginia eventually won out when Congress, at President Thomas Jefferson's urging, banned slave importation as of January 1, 1808—protectionism, say the Sublettes, for Virginia's slave-breeding industry, and sold to the public as protection against the alleged terrorism of "French negroes" from Haiti. After that, a new interstate slave trade grew, propelled by territories and new states that wanted slavery, and by the breeders who wanted new markets. Thus, the slave-breeding economy spread south and west, driving the expansion of the U.S. into new territories.

    Slavery, as the Sublettes describe it, wasn’t a sidebar to early American history and a new nation’s growth. It was front and center—protected by law and prejudice, custom and greed. The enslaved were unloaded, sold, and taken (women’s necks tied with rope, men’s necks put in chains) via major roads, steamboats, and passing through cities and villages to their destination. Newspapers, owned by Benjamin Franklin, sold advertising for buying and selling slaves. All of this unfolded in full sight, with prosperous settlers assuming that slaves were a necessity for daily living and accumulating wealth. For generations, the property value of slaves was the largest asset in America.

    The authors, Ned and Constance Sublette, are not traditional scholars, but gifted cultural historians. Ned Sublette, who was born in Lubbock, Texas, and lived in Natchitoches, Louisiana as a boy, was trained as a musician and created the record company Qbadisc in the 1990s—featuring top Cuban artists long before Ry Cooder’s Buena Vista Social Club. His book Cuba and Its Music is considered by many to be the most authoritative on the island’s unique mix of African and European traditions and musical heritage. He realized that the conditions of different forms of slavery—French, Spanish, American—accounted for key differences between Afro-Latin and African-American culture. His second book, The World That Made New Orleans, deconstructs how successive waves of slave importation, under Spanish, French and then American rule, created that city’s music. But throughout his research, working with his wife, Constance, the Sublettes realized that the history of slavery—especially its most vicious form that took hold in North America—was largely untold, unknown, and explained much about the violence, racism and exploitation that is at the core of U.S. history. The American Slave Coast is the result of 15 years of inquiry.

    It’s an epic volume—668 pages before footnotes and citations—and a lot to digest. But if Americans are ever to come to terms with the anti-black violence that endures today, it is necessary to understand the roots of an economy and culture that has needed and feared Africans. For example, take Jefferson and America’s founding documents: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Most Americans know that slaves had no rights. Or they know that the slave-owning Jefferson cynically wrote, “All men are created equal” in the Declaration, and owned slaves and had several slave children. But they probably don’t realize how the Constitution and Bill of Rights enshrined into law an economic system where the major form of property was slaves, and created a government to protect the wealth of that system’s upper class.

    Today’s right-wing fetish about the Constitution’s perfection ignores input by prominent Virginians and Carolinians, including many signers of the Declaration of Independence, to protect slave property. As their book points out, the gun-toting militias sanctioned by the Second Amendment were a guarantee that slave owners could hunt and kill escaped slaves and Native Americans. The Sublettes stunningly trace how fear (of slave revolts) and self-interest (protecting slave-tied wealth) played a major role in framing America’s founding documents. But they go further and demonstrate why Jefferson is the the founding theorist of white supremacy in America.

    It’s not just that Jefferson owned slaves, including his own children who were 7/8ths white. Nor was it his letters with the leading men of his day—like George Washington—explaining how owning slaves was better than other investments. Nor was it his ugly and racist description of blacks in Notes From The State of Virginia, where in the 1780s he wrote, “Their griefs are transient. Those numberless afflictions… are less felt, and sooner forgotten with them. In general, their existence appears to participate more of sensation than reflection.” Mostly, it was Jefferson’s lifelong belief that slaves could not be freed but had to be deported en masse, because sizeable numbers of ex-slaves would take up arms and annihilate slave-owning whites. These prejudices, fears and draconian remedies reverberate today—such as Donald Trump’s bid to deport 11 million migrants.

    The American Slave Coast starts with the horrible truth that America—unlike the French and Spanish colonies in the Caribbean—was a slave-breeding society from colonial times through emancipation. There was no path to freedom for slaves, because, say the Sublettes, "no escape from the asset column could be permitted." Black families were intentionally broken up as part of creating an economic system for a new nation. As Ned Sublette said, “Writing this book revolutionized our understanding of our history.” Constance Sublette adds, “No matter how bad you thought slavery was, it was worse than that.”

    New Book: America Was Built On Slavery And It Was Much Worse Than You Might Imagine
    Slaves as money. A breeding industry. Founding fathers of white supremacy.
    By Steven Rosenfeld / AlterNet
    —–
    Eagerly waiting for Mr Rosenfeld’s book on ((( dutch ))) slavery, especially in Suriname.
    Do tell us about the Joodensavane, Mr Rosenfeld. Do tell us how those ((( white males ))) ran Suriname in such a way that at the time of Voltaire, Suriname was know as the worst possible place that a black african slave could be sent to.

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  150. @Wizard of Oz
    I suggest you read some books or attend some lectures about evolution for a start.

    The DNA wasn’t there before, or they’d have sight/hearing/wings….
    Or it was dormant there, placed by “someone”.

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  151. “Humans today are a puffed-up and overconfident species. We believe that we know everything, or shortly will. We have a sense of near-omniscience equaled only by that of teenagers. For do we not have have smart phones and Mars landers and PET scans, and do we not all speak wisely of DNA? We are, if not gods, at least godlings on the way up. If you don’t believe this, just ask us.

    It was not always so. A thousand years ago, mankind cast a small shadow on the earth and lived in a dark and mysterious world. Little was known, about anything. Gods of countless sorts walked the earth. Spirits inhabited sacred groves. Lightning, the moon, the stars were…what? We had no idea. This brought humility.
    We now believe that nothing is or can be beyond our powers. ”

    You don’t believe in God because you think you are God.

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  152. Funny how people who go to this much effort almost always fall back on their “old time religion” that they learned in Sunday School…. I would bet my hard-earned money that is the case for Fred.

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  153. @Astuteobservor II
    what you are saying is that you believe a bunch of goat herders talked to god 2000 years ago, and the bible/whatever came into existence? god's words?

    by the way, I love how you pick just one part of the comment to reply to.

    The question is: why is it implausible that a bunch of goat herders talked to god (actually God talked to them). Obviously, you can’t answer it.

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    • Replies: @Astuteobservor II
    well, now I know you truly believe god talked to a bunch of goat herders and the bible contains god's words :)

    and that is all I need to know.

  154. @Seraphim
    The question is: why is it implausible that a bunch of goat herders talked to god (actually God talked to them). Obviously, you can't answer it.

    well, now I know you truly believe god talked to a bunch of goat herders and the bible contains god’s words :)

    and that is all I need to know.

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  155. This entire idiotic essay is a straw man. evolution never purported to explain the origins of LIFE but the origin of SPECIES

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  156. I agree – this article is nonsense – the author needs to read Dawkins the Ancestors Tale, where Richard Dawkins answers nearly all his points with clarity – the evidence for evolution is overwhelming across many disparate disciplines, I despair that ignorant articles like this are still being written and shows a complete misunderstanding of how scientific inquery works with lots of competing hypothesis most of the destined to be proved utter tripe, Ill say no more as Ill just get rude…… this is 15 minutes of my time I consider wasted reading this article…

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    • Replies: @CanSpeccy

    I agree – this article is nonsense – the author needs to read Dawkins the Ancestors Tale
     
    Or if you don't wish to read a book, you can read my 18 points in rebuttal here.
  157. @John Jeremiah Smith

    And I reject the notion that the progress humans have made have been done so out of fealty to any deity. Indeed, most of the horrors that we’ve visited upon our fellow man thoughout the centuries have been out of religious intolerance, as we witness today in so many places.
     
    God's track record kinda sucks, doesn't it? If we were being honest with ourselves, and we were picking sides, would the true human be on "God's" side, all prior demonstration being considered? Oh, hell no.

    Ha that’s a ridiculous comment, reminds me of those teenage commies who say “capitalism doesn’t work” while posting on their I-phones in Starbucks wearing clothes and enjoying a 79 year lifespan. Religious intolerance has absolutely nothing to do with God, it’s all from our human imperfection and stupidity.

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  158. @Harry Palms
    Ha that's a ridiculous comment, reminds me of those teenage commies who say "capitalism doesn't work" while posting on their I-phones in Starbucks wearing clothes and enjoying a 79 year lifespan. Religious intolerance has absolutely nothing to do with God, it's all from our human imperfection and stupidity.

    Just the facts, bubbelah.

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  159. @Anonymous
    I agree.

    I argued with an evolutionist once, a biology major. I argued that natural selection and random mutation alone were not cogent, comprehensive, sufficient or necessary causes to account for Life.

    My argument (don't throw tomatoes at me, it's drawn from physics and chemistry) was that for anything to exist, it is the product of two opposing forces. Why do I say this? Because everything is.

    Here's an example: a soap bubble is a film filled with gas. The bubble floats in the same gas. The gas molecules inside the bubble are moving randomly, the molecules colliding with the internal wall of the film. As do the molecules of gas outside of the soap bubble. The soap bubble, the thing, then, is the boundary between two opposing pressures, constantly oscillating or vibrating at its harmonic frequency as first the inward then the outward pressure predominates. It is in relative dynamic equilibrium.

    One cannot conceive of the bubble as existing apart from considering both the forces acting upon it from without or within. There is a pushing out and a pressing in.

    And just so with evolution. Natural selection presses in, shaping the specie's gene pool, but some agency within the organism or within it's genes, some "intelligence" pushes out--and its not just random chance.

    It's not God--or maybe it is, if by that you mean Nous, as the Greeks understood God. At any rate, it's not the God of the Old or New Testament.

    There is some sort of exploratory aspect that drives the variation of gene expression in the process of evolution.

    Every species is a soap bubble, a thing, an identity. A thing can only exist if there is some internal source of pressure pressing outwards, in this case, striving to express itself in all its manifestations. Natural selection trims those excesses that are not viable.

    Belief that randomness can account for existence of living beings is tantamount to positing that something can be made of just one thing (natural selection), and that it is not the product of interaction of two opposing forces. This proposes the existence of something that has never been encountered in all of science. Every phenomenon described by scientific law entails opposition. Opposition results in pulsating or oscillating behavior, dynamic equilibrium.

    The outward pressure is reproduction with diversity. For simple organisms the diversity may be due to random mutation, for higher organisms, most diversity comes from sexual reproduction.

    If you take 1024 coins, toss them on a table and select only the heads, you’ll have about 512 heads. Do it again with just those coins which landed heads. After about 10 cycles of this you will be left with one coin that has landed heads 10 times in a row. It’s wrong to say this coin is unlikely to have occurred by pure chance (misreading of the whole process of evolution) and its wrong to assume that the coin is not “fair” (intellegent design). (To be fair, it’s also wrong to assume that the coin IS fair :)

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  160. @Accumulo
    New Book: America Was Built On Slavery And It Was Much Worse Than You Might Imagine
    Slaves as money. A breeding industry. Founding fathers of white supremacy.
    By Steven Rosenfeld / AlterNet
    October 2, 2015

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    Engraving, circa 1700, featuring white colonists and black slaves.
    Photo Credit: Lawrence Hill Books

    This August, when Hillary Clinton met with Black Lives Matter protesters, they told her that ongoing violence and prejudice against blacks was part of a long historic continuum where, for example, today’s prison system descended from the old Southern plantations. Slavery, Clinton replied, was the “original sin... that America has not recovered from.”

    But how much do modern Americans really know about slavery in colonial America? In the genocide of Native Americans? In the War of Independence or the drafting of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights? Or afterward for decades until the Civil War? Chances are, not very much. Not that slaves, for example, were money in the antebellum South—currency and credit—which led to the enforced, systematic break-up of black families in generation after generation. There was no national currency, and little silver or gold, but there was paper tied to slaves bought on credit whose offspring were seen as a dividend that grew over time.

    That’s just one of the riveting and revolting details from a new book, The American Slave Coast: A History of The Slave Breeding Industry, by Ned and Constance Sublette. They trace other telling details that are not found in traditional American history books, where slavery is usually described as an amoral but cheap labor system. For example, have you read about the rivalry between Virginia and South Carolina, which had competing slave economies?

    Virginia was the epicenter of a slave breeding industry, in which enslaved women were expected to be constantly pregnant, were sold off if they didn't produce children, and sometimes were force-mated to achieve that end. The offspring were sold to newer settlers and those migrating west. Charleston, South Carolina, in contrast, was colonial America’s slave importing and exporting port. In the late seventeenth century, Carolina exported captured native Americans as slaves to Caribbean plantation islands, gradually replacing them with imported laborers. As the South was emptied of native Americans and American plantations grew, South Carolina became the major slave importer in the colonies and in the early republic. Virginia eventually won out when Congress, at President Thomas Jefferson's urging, banned slave importation as of January 1, 1808—protectionism, say the Sublettes, for Virginia's slave-breeding industry, and sold to the public as protection against the alleged terrorism of "French negroes" from Haiti. After that, a new interstate slave trade grew, propelled by territories and new states that wanted slavery, and by the breeders who wanted new markets. Thus, the slave-breeding economy spread south and west, driving the expansion of the U.S. into new territories.

    Slavery, as the Sublettes describe it, wasn’t a sidebar to early American history and a new nation’s growth. It was front and center—protected by law and prejudice, custom and greed. The enslaved were unloaded, sold, and taken (women’s necks tied with rope, men’s necks put in chains) via major roads, steamboats, and passing through cities and villages to their destination. Newspapers, owned by Benjamin Franklin, sold advertising for buying and selling slaves. All of this unfolded in full sight, with prosperous settlers assuming that slaves were a necessity for daily living and accumulating wealth. For generations, the property value of slaves was the largest asset in America.

    The authors, Ned and Constance Sublette, are not traditional scholars, but gifted cultural historians. Ned Sublette, who was born in Lubbock, Texas, and lived in Natchitoches, Louisiana as a boy, was trained as a musician and created the record company Qbadisc in the 1990s—featuring top Cuban artists long before Ry Cooder’s Buena Vista Social Club. His book Cuba and Its Music is considered by many to be the most authoritative on the island’s unique mix of African and European traditions and musical heritage. He realized that the conditions of different forms of slavery—French, Spanish, American—accounted for key differences between Afro-Latin and African-American culture. His second book, The World That Made New Orleans, deconstructs how successive waves of slave importation, under Spanish, French and then American rule, created that city’s music. But throughout his research, working with his wife, Constance, the Sublettes realized that the history of slavery—especially its most vicious form that took hold in North America—was largely untold, unknown, and explained much about the violence, racism and exploitation that is at the core of U.S. history. The American Slave Coast is the result of 15 years of inquiry.

    It’s an epic volume—668 pages before footnotes and citations—and a lot to digest. But if Americans are ever to come to terms with the anti-black violence that endures today, it is necessary to understand the roots of an economy and culture that has needed and feared Africans. For example, take Jefferson and America’s founding documents: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Most Americans know that slaves had no rights. Or they know that the slave-owning Jefferson cynically wrote, “All men are created equal” in the Declaration, and owned slaves and had several slave children. But they probably don’t realize how the Constitution and Bill of Rights enshrined into law an economic system where the major form of property was slaves, and created a government to protect the wealth of that system’s upper class.

    Today’s right-wing fetish about the Constitution’s perfection ignores input by prominent Virginians and Carolinians, including many signers of the Declaration of Independence, to protect slave property. As their book points out, the gun-toting militias sanctioned by the Second Amendment were a guarantee that slave owners could hunt and kill escaped slaves and Native Americans. The Sublettes stunningly trace how fear (of slave revolts) and self-interest (protecting slave-tied wealth) played a major role in framing America’s founding documents. But they go further and demonstrate why Jefferson is the the founding theorist of white supremacy in America.

    It’s not just that Jefferson owned slaves, including his own children who were 7/8ths white. Nor was it his letters with the leading men of his day—like George Washington—explaining how owning slaves was better than other investments. Nor was it his ugly and racist description of blacks in Notes From The State of Virginia, where in the 1780s he wrote, “Their griefs are transient. Those numberless afflictions… are less felt, and sooner forgotten with them. In general, their existence appears to participate more of sensation than reflection.” Mostly, it was Jefferson’s lifelong belief that slaves could not be freed but had to be deported en masse, because sizeable numbers of ex-slaves would take up arms and annihilate slave-owning whites. These prejudices, fears and draconian remedies reverberate today—such as Donald Trump’s bid to deport 11 million migrants.

    The American Slave Coast starts with the horrible truth that America—unlike the French and Spanish colonies in the Caribbean—was a slave-breeding society from colonial times through emancipation. There was no path to freedom for slaves, because, say the Sublettes, "no escape from the asset column could be permitted." Black families were intentionally broken up as part of creating an economic system for a new nation. As Ned Sublette said, “Writing this book revolutionized our understanding of our history.” Constance Sublette adds, “No matter how bad you thought slavery was, it was worse than that.”

    Why dwell on the past. I can see your slavery and raise you with my Irish heritage. At least in slavery there’s a property interest to protect. Several centuries of genocide –latent and actual- with only occasional actual slavery can be tough too.

    But my point is that I don’t teach victimhood to my children or grandchildren and my father didn’t to me. If it’s in the past leave it there rather than nursing the ongoing character rot than victimhood yields.

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  161. @Rurik
    once you accept that it's impossible to know how the first DNA molecule came into existence, the rest seems fairly simple.

    we don't need to know how life started to understand how it evolves. The Neanderthals are gone because "we" killed them off and replaced them. Soon, we'll be replaced by AI, perhaps using some of the carbon based life forms to augment its evolution. Perhaps we'll morph into a kind of AI/organic synthesis.

    the way I see it, when people ask me where the missing link is, I say it's us. We're the missing link. We're poised between the animal world and the Gods. Much, much closer to the animals. We've only just began the trip to post-animal existence, and in 99.99999% of our existence, were 100% animal. (even if we don't always want to admit it)

    There's just a hint of the divine. And that hint is found in Fred's grasping attempt to understand his place in the universe. {which is the question that ultimately motivates both religion and science} To ask of his life, why? Animals don't self-reflect and wonder at why they exist, they simply do. Modern humans wonder why (or think they know), but the fact is, there is no why. That's the next hurdle in human cultural evolution. To understand that there is no why, and be comfortable with it. Indeed, to revel and exult in such knowledge.

    Personally when I hear people's angst and their squeamishness at the knowledge that we're only animals and are driven by instincts and chemicals and physics that we don't ultimately control with some kind of volitional free will, I want to tell them 'yes! and how wonderful is that?!' You see if we weren't put here by the Gods, or some God, or aliens, but rather have simply come to exist by some quirk of the universe, and are really animals, and automatons driven by instincts to eat and roam and fuck and frolic, enjoying all the fruits of the senses and all the wonders of life, just for the fun of it, well then how cool is that?!

    We humans are incredibly unlikely accidents, and we're not beholding to anyone or anything, least of all some God or Gods. (perhaps that's one of the real glories of living after the Renaissance and the age of science) We're free to revel in life, and be amazed at the singular miracle of our existence. Every breath is a treasure, once you come to understand the unlikelihood of it all. Not only that we exist, but that we're able to look at ourselves and be aware of ourselves and indeed, marvel at it all.

    If we were put here by a God, who expected us to worship Him and pay homage to Him and crawl on our bellies in humility and fear of Him, then that's not too fun. But if we were an infinitesimally unlikely accident, of, as Fred mentions, to the n'th degree, now wow, what great luck!

    As for consciousness, what it is, is the unlikely benefit of having such a large brain, that as you're out foraging for food, (going to work), or seeking a mate- unlike most of the animal kingdom, they're unaware of these instincts (and hormones and enzymes and dendrites and synapsis) all firing and flowing and functioning and tweaking our sense of ourselves, as we (these machines that we are) live in this incredible world, we (almost alone, with the dolphins and other advanced life forms) are able to be aware of it all, and as we feel it, we're also able to reflect on it all. It's a byproduct of the functioning of our brains, that we have this amazing thing called consciousness, that allows us to reflect on it all, and be aware that we're going through this phenomena called living.

    It's incredible. No?

    Those are just a few of my thoughts on all this.

    I like these kinds of conversations.

    But I would prefer to take the issues one by one, so to speak. Not that it wasn't fun to comment on this.

    Cool?

    You must be kidding.

    If that feels cool to you is because you have not thought thoroughly across the implications. I was once were you are, exactly in the very same spot, but kept going forward down that road. At the end of it there is, well, a dead end, a cul-de-sac of absolute nihilism and decomposition of the notions of self and Reality.

    The decomposition of the Self is bad enough, more than enough to drive you clinically crazy but the other one, the deconstruction of Reality… There are only two ways forward: sheer insanity or the closure of the loop and your return to Theism (capital T). Been there, done that.

    Keep thinking, keep going down the road, endure the best you can the periods in the meantime when you’ll feel like in need of medication. One day, after leaving many miles behind Nietzsche, Dawkins and Hitchens (like I did) you’ll catch up with me. Can you see those huge Doors, waiting at the end of the trail? Yes: it’s our Maker’s House. There we go, you and I. Either if we want or not.

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    • Replies: @Talha

    There we go, you and I. Either if we want or not.
     
    Seriously, that was deep. Very Sufi-like. I believe you went through this moment that Kierkegaard wrote of:
    "There comes a moment in a person's life when immediacy is ripe, so to speak, and when the spirit requires a higher form, when it wants to lay hold of itself as spirit. As immediate spirit, a person is bound up with all the earthly life, and now spirit wants to gather itself together out of this dispersion, so to speak, and to transfigure itself in itself; the personality wants to become conscious in its eternal validity. If this does not happen, if the movement is halted, if it is repressed, then depression sets in."

    Peace.
  162. @PapayaSF
    I admit I've only read part of the essay, but a few points.

    From last year: Researchers Make Artificial Cells That Can Replicate Themselves

    The argument that it would take infinitely long amounts of time for evolution to produce results is flawed, because evolution is not merely randomness: it is randomness constrained by physical laws. The combination of those things can produce amazing complexity in much shorter timespans. A good book on this: Laws of the Game: How the Principles of Nature Govern Chance by Manfred Eigen and Ruthild Winkler

    What is randomness?

    I ask because I suspect you’re perfectly aware we don’t have any agreement or really definitive definition of randomness. Moreover, we’re absolutely unable of producing pure randomness. We only simulate it.

    Which is pretty interesting in itself.

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    • Replies: @Talha
    Behold, the oracles of the new religion (or really an old one, rebooted):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8xaNVzlils

    Apparently empty space equals 'nothing' ontologically - wow - philosophers, eat your heart out because apparently we can now observe 'nothing'! Thank the stars, says the coherently talking mass of molecules, because they died so there could be enough cosmic dust to produce you. And by the way, we are alone and the end game is a very cold, dark crush of particles that really had no purpose to be swirled around in the first place.

    Yeah, makes me really want to apostate now since religion is so oppressively depressing.

    Can't wait for the 'Aphorisms of Krauss', a book of life affirming truths of how to better order my life and achieve contentment. The oracle has spoken and you can buy truth for $19.99 - so cheap - can you believe it!

    Peace.

  163. @Montañés
    Cool?

    You must be kidding.

    If that feels cool to you is because you have not thought thoroughly across the implications. I was once were you are, exactly in the very same spot, but kept going forward down that road. At the end of it there is, well, a dead end, a cul-de-sac of absolute nihilism and decomposition of the notions of self and Reality.

    The decomposition of the Self is bad enough, more than enough to drive you clinically crazy but the other one, the deconstruction of Reality... There are only two ways forward: sheer insanity or the closure of the loop and your return to Theism (capital T). Been there, done that.

    Keep thinking, keep going down the road, endure the best you can the periods in the meantime when you'll feel like in need of medication. One day, after leaving many miles behind Nietzsche, Dawkins and Hitchens (like I did) you'll catch up with me. Can you see those huge Doors, waiting at the end of the trail? Yes: it's our Maker's House. There we go, you and I. Either if we want or not.

    There we go, you and I. Either if we want or not.

    Seriously, that was deep. Very Sufi-like. I believe you went through this moment that Kierkegaard wrote of:
    “There comes a moment in a person’s life when immediacy is ripe, so to speak, and when the spirit requires a higher form, when it wants to lay hold of itself as spirit. As immediate spirit, a person is bound up with all the earthly life, and now spirit wants to gather itself together out of this dispersion, so to speak, and to transfigure itself in itself; the personality wants to become conscious in its eternal validity. If this does not happen, if the movement is halted, if it is repressed, then depression sets in.”

    Peace.

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  164. @Montañés
    What is randomness?

    I ask because I suspect you're perfectly aware we don't have any agreement or really definitive definition of randomness. Moreover, we're absolutely unable of producing pure randomness. We only simulate it.

    Which is pretty interesting in itself.

    Behold, the oracles of the new religion (or really an old one, rebooted):

    Apparently empty space equals ‘nothing’ ontologically – wow – philosophers, eat your heart out because apparently we can now observe ‘nothing’! Thank the stars, says the coherently talking mass of molecules, because they died so there could be enough cosmic dust to produce you. And by the way, we are alone and the end game is a very cold, dark crush of particles that really had no purpose to be swirled around in the first place.

    Yeah, makes me really want to apostate now since religion is so oppressively depressing.

    Can’t wait for the ‘Aphorisms of Krauss’, a book of life affirming truths of how to better order my life and achieve contentment. The oracle has spoken and you can buy truth for $19.99 – so cheap – can you believe it!

    Peace.

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  165. @Antz
    I agree - this article is nonsense - the author needs to read Dawkins the Ancestors Tale, where Richard Dawkins answers nearly all his points with clarity - the evidence for evolution is overwhelming across many disparate disciplines, I despair that ignorant articles like this are still being written and shows a complete misunderstanding of how scientific inquery works with lots of competing hypothesis most of the destined to be proved utter tripe, Ill say no more as Ill just get rude...... this is 15 minutes of my time I consider wasted reading this article...

    I agree – this article is nonsense – the author needs to read Dawkins the Ancestors Tale

    Or if you don’t wish to read a book, you can read my 18 points in rebuttal here.

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  166. Great column Fred! A couple of points….Greg Cochran’s hypothesis about homosexuality (male only) is based on rock solid evidence that gay men have always had significantly fewer children than straight men. If homosexuality were genetic, natural selection would have wiped out those genes eons ago–not enough offspring. Furthermore, primitive hunter-gatherers don’t even know what it is, so gay men are likely a civilization related thing. What happens in cities? Lots of diseases evolve, including many that we don’t know about. Viruses can be extremely tiny…True, we haven’t found the virus, mainly because nobody is looking! Try to get a grant for that…
    Second, the children of two parents with, say, 125 IQs do not “revert to the mean” of the population. On the average, they will have IQs of 125. If one of the children has an IQ of 150, however, it is likely that her IQ contribution to her children will revert partially toward her previous expected IQ of 125, say 137….

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  167. Oh bloody hell. “Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone.
    Rather feral rules, eh? Those arriving late to any nonsense should be the most pitied, sweetly indulged, a chair slung forward and a sturdy drink proffered, no—shoved forcefully into the idiot’s hand.
    As if I NEED additional handicapping? I tripped in here while searching, unsuccessfully for a specific topic, and getting nowhere. Who hasn’t entered: “DDT, thatch huts, Southeast Asia, roof falls in” but been given the wrong nonsense instead? You know exactly what tripe came back instead, right? “Rachel Carson, Silent Spring thatch huts roof “… What the craic? The indecency of the world at large and all the self-pity flooding in, come on, I had only read the piece…what…a mere 34 years ago?
    Yet, my poor selection of search terms led me to here! Ah, such lovely, random fated, loveliness to fall crash and land amongst a heated discussion of wry, opinionated, mixed conspiracy, absolute political smarty-pants; DDT be damned. [Catdrop.com "Borneo, 1950's, thatch-eating caterpillars immune to DDT, Myth, popular ecological tales... were the correct search terms]

    The heck with mosquitoes, & malaria. Here, in a lovely coincidence, someone named Mr. Fred begins by quoting from a man who was himself quite a contradiction– John Burdon Sanderson Haldane—the fellow who married genetics to enzymes. My Da had met him and I owned one of a kid’s books this Oxford scientist had written My Friend, Mr. Leaky. “Janey Mack, who let this Irish madwoman in here?” I can overhear the prickly rumble. ” And, on Darwin’s bones, is she capable of following, aye—even grasping– the subject at hand?”

    Oh dear, my apologies. Haldane was irascible, outstanding in three distinct sciences, and translated complex topics to lay works for the public. He served in WWI, became an angry Communist, then departed communism, & would have delighted in Fred’s “Darwin Unhinged” with ruthless good delight. Still, Fred already knows that, or he would not have quoted the man.

    It is obvious you each hold a marvelous capacity of intelligence and wit so I will assume you can quickly scan this fool’s slow build up; it took me several turns at each jump to hurdle my horse over each fence of thought. With great envy, I saw each of you fly quickly and easily about the field so indulge this beginner who straggles here at the end.

    [MORE]

    Though, remaining, short of topic, and winded, let me fling a few more quotes from the son of John Scott Haldane (the man who asserted CO2 was the driving force in respiratory rate). Before you protest more at this delay, please give a moment to honor the bold JBS, known as “Jack”, who was christened John Burdon Sanderson after his great uncle. Trivia, perhaps to you but no knowledge is ever wasted. My own pontificating below will be dull but here are some delightful words from this man who grew up as the only son (He did have a sister Naomi) in as politically a mixed family as this cocktail club. Jack’s mother a Tory and his father a liberal thinker.
    Jack was in the Black Watch in WWI and wounded twice. Fred’s choice of Haldane to introduce this topic has some irony since so many of you wrote with supreme certainty of your position. Haldane himself struggled and, as is so real in complex thought and humanity, lurched & struggled in his own life and opinions.
    The man who, together with Fisher, and Wright married Darwin to Mendellian genetics in what was then, I think, called “Neo Darwinism”. JBS Haldane was a ferocious debater as skilled as many of you but also capable of pausing with competing views without the need to vigorously discard one immediately due to cognitive dissonance; a rare talent. He was crazily courageous, or just plain foolish. He drank hydrochloric acid himself during a science test of blood alkalinity.
    Sometimes we are so excited to expound on our own arguments, we race straight past something exceedingly rare. I don’t know how accidental Fred’s quote really was.
    Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.” -JBS Haldane
    Fred enjoys irony, adroitness, and writes with a clear delight in some misdirection, profound skill, drollness, and ease. I looked at some other essays and each had delightful, deliberate misdirection, keenness, parsimony (yes, in spite of length, his words string always on point unlike my rambling– which is exhausting by contrast) Each of, what I came to think of as your club’s intriguing tennis match, back and forth word volleys made for great reading.
    But here, obstinately, I became off topic. Oh, I wanted to jump in so badly.

    Fred stumbles a few times out of limited data on his part and I hated when it happened because he is so likable at the start. One example was his perplexity over why humans don’t have a better sense of olfaction and assertion that “it doesn’t make sense” (versus “I don’t get this” or “I wish I had a better grasp of this issue”)
    I felt my bossiness and joy. Ah! I had not understood this subject either and spent some time too! I could help! A common lay person error.
    But really, what I was feeling was, scared. What a morass of argumentative humans with such powerful certainty I had happened upon; where does one even begin to understand what makes us behave this way?

    And, though I had just, er, met Fred, I had instantly imbued him with talents and qualities that this logical misstep seemed out of “character.” I was sad. We humans, with our rapid assessment, peculiar judgements, snapshot gestalt intakes—bloody hell! I was reading a damned blog after all. And completely uninvited.

    Thank you though. Even if you have wandered away in disgust and don’t know I am thanking you. So refreshing. So…un Ted talkish.

    Fred, whether by accident or by gift, delivered Haldane to you. Many here seem brilliant, erudite, clever at least and all intriguing, and with compelling ideas advanced. Smart people sometimes have disdain for other intelligence. You might pause at Jack Haldane. Yes, scoff at his struggle with earnest politics. His drift to Communism, and then his leaving it when seeing the brutality of the Soviet machine.
    Be careful though. To paraphrase Einstein, simplify as much as possible, but don’t oversimplify. Those days we don’t spend much time acknowledging the giants whose shoulders have provided those famous views. Everyone now is too busy poaching and honing careful arguments—as though—winning is defined who can argue with the most intractable fierceness, where sarcasm replaces decency, and no one, absolutely none, trust the other to help find further ways toward honest data.
    But first Haldane, a man who spoke 11 languages, lectured fluently in three, had complete mastery in three completely diverse subject realms and an ability to translate to the common man. He developed a quantitative theory of evolution using concepts of changing gene frequency.

    On the subject debated here regarding Darwin’s concepts (which are basically mathematical in nature and have other impeding/ competing factors at play). Haldane describes an issue which I think some respondents may be mixing together: “ We must… carefully distinguish between two quite different doctrines which Darwin popularised, the doctrine of evolution, and that of natural selection. It is quite possible to hold the first and not the second.”

    JBS Haldane may not have the most modern word on Darwin but certainly bears more attention than just his charming quote, which introduces Fred’s great blog exploration. Consider what else Jack mentioned so many years ago. Maybe his thoughts are too basic to your exposition but I always found them a good place to start. If any of you are as old as me and played with coacervates , you know Haldane developed a solid experimental framework for the origin of life in an anaerobic pre-biotic world.

    HERE IS WHEN I ALMOST REALIZED WHERE I WAS BUT STILL TRUSTED FRED REED
    Mr Fred Read has such a hopeful preamble and what an absolute delight it was to read. Though I was confused by his definition (at age 15 and now) of science, his assertion:
    The intent of this essay is not to debate with the ardent of evolutionism. To do so would be pointless. The problem is one of underlying set of mind, of why people believe and disbelieve things. The greatest intellectual divide is not between those who believe one thing and those who believe another, but between those who have an emotional need to believe something fervently and those who can say, “I don’t know.” The former group comprises those tedious Darwinists and Creationists who hurl imprecations at each other like fans of rival football teams.”

    Was so rare, so refreshing, so, um—un-internet—I could scarcely still fathom this was a real essay, and at first I was enchanted.

    Being the sort of immature person I am, I clapped my hands. I spied the adjoining paragraph

    On Arrogance” , Haldane being quoted. I cheered.

    Things went downhill from there though it took me a few days to come off that pink cloud.

    Humans today are a puffed-up and overconfident species. We believe that we know everything, or shortly will. We have a sense of near-omniscience equaled only by that of teenagers….
    It was not always so. A thousand years ago, mankind cast a small shadow on the earth and lived in a dark and mysterious world.
    When people become accustomed to things that make no sense, they begin to seem to. Though we no longer notice it as we peck at tablet computers and listen to droning lowbrow shows about the conquest of nature, we still live in a weird and inexplicable universe, an apparently unending emptiness speckled with sparks of hydrogen fire. It is wicked mysterious. More things in heaven and earth, indeed.
    We are not as wise as we think. We are just smarter than anything else we know about.
    “I reiterate Fred’s Principle: The smartest of a large number of hamsters is still a hamster.”

    Oh heck. This is just the real introduction. Mr. Fred Read is telling me people no longer live with confusion, spiritual despair, uncertainty, and a secret heart that is aware that each of us really, really, doesn’t understand what we play at understanding. Humans no longer exist in the days when they permitted their Gods to roam valley and mountain to still feel small and afraid. Are you kidding me? Our brains are still small and fearful. All of us grapple with that which is both profound and mysterious; yet despair and death haunt even those you seem to scorn with your words, Fred. I work in both science & with humans who let their secret hearts speak.
    Nothing has changed of how small all feel in the long flow of time. No one is unmoved in this great sweeping miracle beyond our ken. Neither science nor intelligence is some God of salvation but perhaps you have closed the gate on the wrong enemy. No need for irreducible complexities to hurl evolution from you if it offends you. Neither is there a need to shun honesty or open dialog with a zealot’s terms.

    For all your preamble, I grieved when I came back to find you as intransigent as any Evolutionist or Creationist as you describe the two “camps”. It is hard to hold back the binary choices you stamped again and again: Man today vs. man before, humans today vs. humility of old etc. Black and white, this or that, is so much more comforting to the brain. You are so frustrated when others engage in it against you—how dare the Evolutionists call you a creationist etc but how quickly you launch into it yourself, as though you can paint the world before against the world today, how ignorant science is, how foolish this and that are…
    Does Mr. Reed travel in such phony erudite circles that he believes this? Cannot we not have a good and kind communication of ideas without Fred throwing up walls of “Fred Principles”?
    What even does it mean, or help, to announce that a group of hamsters are still not more intelligent than a single hamster? This is your leading point as you begin your long explanation of where you have arrived?
    As though we should carefully look at this Fred Principle? (which I might, alas, expect from a teenager himself) Are we to negotiate, use group critical thinking, but be respectful here? Does pontificating a hamster “principle” help or hinder?
    Are you saying multiple people combining their brains together do not solve problems better? If you were trapped on a mountain or behind enemy lines or –who knows? Needed to make some way for your family to survive a hard winter—are you saying using help and ideas from others would not ever aid you? Combined intelligence is never a benefit? Why am I even then bothering to read yours or any other point of view? Fred’s brain should run the world? Fred is the best hamster? Is your “Fred Principle the best way to start off a treatise about just how puffed up and arrogant today’s human is? Are you putting yourself forward as an example? To start a paragraph, “On Arrogance” with a quote by one of the most accessible, humanistic, British war heroes, who was willing to explore many ideas in politics, thought, and world philosophies—and then to end it by announcing we should adhere to some odd principle of yours that there is no benefit in pooling any intelligence.
    Surely, even, I believe we are not—by some absolute quality—superior to hamsters. Thus I assume we are to take Fred’s Principle to heart? Yes? Why and what do you base this on? How can you show using your principle is wise and by wise—what are your parameters?

    Already, I am worried to follow a man who first tells me he dislikes black and white thinking, plunges into black and white thinking and then—without further ado, hurls sideways into how this proves his hamster principle. Except—he gives no suggestion, why it proves his hamster principle.

    What happened to the fellow who felt so thrashed by those who had only hidden schemes, no interest in looking at data without axes to grind, political or other hidden agendas? How disdainful Fred Reed felt by those who had not the patience or courage to examine claims, suggestions, opinions without resorting to taking sides?
    After the brave preamble, what happens Fred Reed? Don’t ask the questions, if you don’t want to hear from the other hamsters. Don’t be in awe of the mysteries, invite other participants, don’t negotiate delight in future thought, possible knowledge not yet gained. BE the Evolutionists, BE the Creationists you mock. But what a darn waste. You could have put forth so very many principles. Maybe even one such as: 1) Fred Reed invites the idea we all can learn from each other. 2) Fred Reed would like to explain the problems he has of evolution but is open to others pointing out what he may have missed. In turn, Mr. Reed will try to further elucidate what complaint he has with any advanced argument.
    So, I paused because hamsters…I thought…how–well, sorry, just weird?
    And I went back down the essay and in a way, what a pity.

    For it began to plague me, that I had seen some of your words before–that I had read some of Fred Reed’s words before. I had arrived here, after all, searching for an article from 35 years earlier. At first, I plunged on in this fascinating piece.
    Mr. Fred Reed began next with a definition. I screw up more definitions than I would like to mention but I appreciate this disclosure because it also identifies a problem. I don’t know where Mr Reed’s definition of “Evolution” came from but I kept trying to give you the benefit of doubt.
    You wrote:
    “Where Evolution Fits In
    “The Theory of Evolution is not just about biological evolution. It is part of a grand unified theory that seeks to explain everything (except things that it can’t explain, which it ignores”

    It was the queerest definition I had ever seen but at least I believed I knew why Fred Reed was up in arms and angry. I kept trying to find reasons to stay with you. Here he is, I told myself, he is tilting at the wrong beast if that is of any help. Here is what Mr. Reed what was working with:

    If I told you I hate dogs because my definition of “Dogs” is “DOGS eat all children“, You would—well first you might call a psych ward– but next you would explain that dogs in fact do NOT eat all children. Perhaps some dogs had bitten, even killed some children in terrible tragedies but that my definition needed serious revision.
    Furthermore if, every time we tried to talk about dogs, we both had to agree to have a common definition of DOGS. And, it would behoove me to come to the common community definition of “Dogs” I should not expect everyone else to discuss “Dogs” from my odd definition.
    This might take me time as there would be some sabotage my brain would likely enact—elsewise where the heck had my notion come from in the first place? Why did I even THINK dogs ate children? And so forth. I would need to gradually but repeatedly check back each time as I would have a lot of negative corollaries having to do with “Dogs“.

    I am sorry for the analogy. Arguing by analogy is unfair, rude, and unappetizing. I think, you Fred Reed are incredibly decent and sincerely interested in this topic by stating your definition of Evolution at the outset.
    Later on you imbue it with a lot of other properties.

    Again, what a fantastic subject. I claim no expertise but like you, also, have read on this and spoken to the groups, scientists, and religious people you mention. I have a slightly different training background than yourself but I think that matters little overall. My interest here is how do we remain open and find the ability to learn from others—especially when we have potentially entrenched views? And why does it matter?

    And, then, I came to an agonizing stop. I had started to do some journalistic work of my own as the echo of your words kept bouncing–where had I seen them–it had been some years ago. And I found, damn it, you care not at all to think. You really do believe you are the hamster to end all hamsters. What a shame.

    OH WELL. OPTIMISM HAS IT’S UPSIDE

    No cheerful fate had dropped me into an interesting learning environment and it was time to return to my work.

    Fred Reed was not interested in cognitive dissonance, Confirmation bias (AKA Myside bias), Behavioral confirmation effect, (AKA Self-Fulfilling Prophecy) or any of the ways we block data from our brains, squelch it if feeling threatened, try to charm others to our invested side, or mock others who think differently.

    No, because I remembered where I had read Fred Reed’s words. Maybe a bit differently. I felt like a child being lied to; that same silly disappointment and sorrow. This wasn’t at all a person who was curious about how we sort out the fascinating struggles we attach to science as I am. Not at all.
    Of course, being a moronic woman proved one of Fred Reed theories so I am glad to help on this point but it didn’t change someone being dishonest in all the ways he found distasteful in others.

    Not even the benign Emperor wandering without a stitch of clothing. This was a guy pretending to write now ( or 2013, 2016 to be fair) with a mind of wonder and query about a world of mystery and how and to scorch faith by pretending some allegiance to truth and perhaps e God.
    It took a while for me to search his words –I had seen them in 2005.
    For a man who claims NOT to be a creationist, protests he is NOT a creationist, but quotes creationists, and insists on misrepresenting evolution—what had I been thinking in the first place?

    I had been thinking Fred Reed was a man who cared, thought, was real, maybe even cared. Not to be redundant but I believed in the possibility of humility, kindness, exchange of information, learning. Greater fool I, and I hope to remain.
    I don’t mind being a foolish hamster. It beats the hell out of being Fred Reed.

    “…if evolutionists want people to accept evolution, they need to provide answers—clear, concrete, non-metaphysical answers without gaping logical lacunae. They do not. When passionate believers do not provide answers that would substantiate their assertions, a reasonable presumption is that they do not have them. “

    Fred Reed had written much of this for the Discovery Institute in 2005. And that is where I had read Fred Reed before.
    An adventure in misnaming if ever there was.

    The Discovery Institute’s mission?
    Our Mission
    The mission of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture is to advance the understanding that human beings and nature are the result of intelligent design

    [Famously the “Explore Evolution” which is a non science bible based/ creationism project to debunk evolution and other science ideas and replace them with gospel and Christian theologies.
    This book uses the creationist “evidence against evolution” and “teach the controversy” strategies to misrepresent scientific consensus and distort the conclusions of legitimate scientific research. Explore Evolution offers anonymous “critics” in place of substantive analysis.

    Sometimes Mr. Reed talks about evolution in an Aw Shucks kind of “Isn’t that about the stupidest thing you ever heard” cute way like this:
    “The biggest problem with evolution is You Can’t Get There From Here. Lemme explain.
    We’re supposed to think, almost required to think, that critters evolve by high-energy sunburn. They walk around munching on things until they get smacked in the germ plasm by a cosmic ray. It puts puts a crimp in their DNA, so they have weird offspring (which a lot of us manage without cosmic rays). These tads are occasionally an improvement on their parents, or in human experience at least think they are, and so they have lots of kids. So the race improves.
    To believe this, you have to believe that you can improve a car engine by firing a rifle at it. And that teenagers are an improvement. On anything.
    Well, here’s a question that occurred to me when I was about fifteen.
    Suppose you have a giraffe or wombat or something that has black-and-white vision, and it decides to evolve color vision. Maybe it wants to watch movies….”

    Sometimes he writes for a different audience as in Darwin Unhinged:

    “It is not particularly plausible. As someone said, evolution writ large is the belief that a large cloud of hydrogen will eventually turn into Manhattan. But, like a religion, it provides an overarching explanation of origins–the Big Bang–and destiny–we are getting better and better–and gives us a sense of understanding the world.”

    But each time he does the same thing.
    1) He insists those who have some thought for evolution—which, after all, is simply a provable mathematical theory of change in allele frequency over time.
    2) Fred Reed also insists that those who accept the theory proofs of evolution must therefore be Godless atheists which must come as terrible moral crises to those who are not Godless atheists. I am not sure how Mr. Reed deals with that. I doubt he cares; this all seems to be quite a charade. 3) Each time he brings up this thrashing of evolution through the years, he likes to bring in Michael Behe’s book as though freshly read. Maybe it is; perhaps he has memory issues.
    Fred Reed has no interest in studying the great reviews and discussions of Behe’s book. I am not sure what he is afraid of; it must be powerful.
    I started out believing Fred Reed was a journalist but this is not how a journalist behaves.
    I believed I had landed amidst people who were curious to understand differing points of view and hopeful for further exchange.

    What, had been the point of trotting out JBS Haldane in the very start?
    Likely, I realized, as I came to the end of my own sorry and unexpected research, Fred Reed didn’t even know the irony of the person he had quoted—he had grabbed the words because they made him look smarter, more acerbic, clever, witty, and the Hamster of all hamsters.
    Human puffery goes on. Arrogance goes on. The guy who –somewhere in there pretends some faith, or intelligent design—lives only to crap on others.

    I guess it brings to joy Fred Reed. That is the only redeeming thing I can find here. You make the world a sorrier place where you have a chance to look for light. That’s a sad faith, or a cruel God, or both.
    We always, all of us, have the capacity to change till the day the trail ends. I am sorry for my own silly hope here and the way I am so verbose documenting what I came to learn. I doubt you will post this unless it would be to enjoy using it for shooting practice but randomness abounds in good ways too.
    Blessings to you. Blessings to all hamsters, even the ones you savage. You don’t know it and I doubt you ever could, but we are all better together even if Fred’s Principle can’t evolve to grasp that.
    Here are other words from the man you probably didn’t research enough as you might have. This was a man much brighter than either you or me. Try to understand that; he soared above any Fred Principles. He worked through just what was meant by terms you bastardize and I poorly relate. Everything is not one thing versus another. There are gradations of truth perhaps, you might try yet to embrace. I try to do the same. Otherwise, don’t write, unless you are that much in love with the sound of your voice.

    JBS Haldane who you profaned and never knew:

    The world shall perish not for lack of wonders, but for lack of wonder”

    “We do not know, in most cases, how far social failure and success are due to heredity, and how far to environment. But environment is the easier of the two to improve. “

    “Man armed with science is like a baby with a box of matches.”

    Other helpful words regarding “evolution” are found in reading his papers and recorded talks at: Read More

  168. Looks like Fred agrees with Darwin’s letter to Huxley: ‘It is all nonsense, searching for the origin of life. One might as well search for the origin of matter.’

    Read More
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