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User talk:Awc

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G'day Awc, and welcome to aSK. We are glad to have you contribute. For more information about aSK, see our About statement. Please see the rules and regulations as soon as you can.
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Contents

Research notes and article level

I just noticed your user page. You may like to take a look at this.

Makes sense. I'll do that eventually. --Awc 07:22, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

And on a completely different topic, see also Regulation 2, although I'm not suggesting that your efforts have been unnecessarily technical.

I'll keep it in mind. I do have the ambition to present what we are talking about in a way that a high school student can understand it. But I think it is easier to get the content right first and then to polish and simplify the presentation. --Awc 07:22, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

Philip J. Rayment 21:11, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

Hi

Please to sending me ein emails. Teh Terrible Asp 14:49, 24 September 2010 (UTC)

Cosmology

Another cosmology fan, I see. Have fun. Ace McWicked 19:32, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

Membership nomination

Awc was nominated for membership, and was voted in. Voting is now closed. The voting can be seen by showing the box below.

Give up now , why waste time , go for a picnic

Hi Awc, you may as well go out for a nice picnic , take a wife or girlfriend , enjoy life. Philip is buggering the article behind you. Just remember that in his worldview all science is dine by lying apostates who deny gods magesty and the absolute rule of Jesus as his eternal slaves. Nothing that science has done is true in any way. Hamster 18:54, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

You may be right, but I'm not ready to agree with you yet, so I'll hang around a while longer. My motivation is a combination of a love for truth and an interest in psychology and sociology. Besides, it's my hobby. --Awc 19:20, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
No, he is not right. His comment that in his worldview all science is dine by lying apostates who deny gods magesty and the absolute rule of Jesus as his eternal slaves. Nothing that science has done is true in any way. is a gross mischaracterisation of my position, and Hamster knows better. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 01:47, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
Rather than explain why such a statement is incorrect, which it isn't to anyone but you and your ilk who believe that "creation science" is science and "methodological materialism" is not, you simply dismiss it out of hand with some insulting conceit. Hamster's statement here absolutely was not a mischaracterization of your position as far as I can tell. Neither have mine been "blinkered." I've read Van Til, Bahnsen, and Frame in the last few months and it's clearer than ever that presupper creationists can NEVER credit a scientific claim that's contrary to their precious bibles. EVER. The apologetic doesn't permit it. You've stated elsewhere in response to Awc that disregarding the biblical worldview will never get you to the right answer. Statements like this lead me to believe that you're right in line with Van Til. Is this or is this not true? It's fine for you, but there's a growing literature on why presuppositionalism is a viciously circular and unsatisfactory apologetic and nobody but your creationist cohorts here is going along with you on this so some clarity from you as to what you actually believe would be very helpful. Why not actually write the presuppositionalism article? Then we can discuss that the literature makes clear enough, from Van Til up to his modern disciples, that these guys' position is that the non-elect who deny your god are Satanic. If you disagree with any of this we'll all appreciate you being specific about what it is. If Bradley asks me how I know his epistemlogical method is a failure, it's because I believe he's also a presuppositionalist. Neither of you have answered direct questions about this this. Your vandalism of my userpage here fails to make any specific claims. So why don't we have the foundational discussion before we indulge more of your vagueness? I'm eager to discuss the philosophical questions rather than getting hopelessly mired in your hopelessly blinkered misconceptions of what science is and should be. Teh Terrible Asp 15:14, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
"Teh Terrible Asp" (I've said it before, but your user name is very silly, and does not obey the letter of this site's guidelines), your rant above is misplaced once again. Yes, we know that you've just heard of presuppositionalism and are excited about it, but this is not the appropriate forum for your sneering entry-level criticisms of it.
Some of us here are interested in contributing to this encyclopædia. You aren't one of them. So please, stick to sites more suited to your confrontational personality and stop badgering those who are.--CPalmer 15:27, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
Bravo CPalmer! You're channeling Andy Schlafly better than ever. Do pardon me for educating myself about people who fancy themselves participants in an insidious and multi-fronted culture war. I love your concern trolling. Fantastic! Teh Terrible Asp 16:34, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
Rather than explain why such a statement is incorrect... you simply dismiss it out of hand... As Hamster made the claim, the onus is on him to support it, not on me to explain why it's wrong. Further, I cited an expert on the subject—me. (I'm obviously the leading expert on what I believe.)
I've read Van Til, Bahnsen, and Frame in the last few months and it's clearer than ever that presupper creationists can NEVER credit a scientific claim that's contrary to their precious bibles. EVER. Are/were any of those three leading creationists? If not, then you seem to be presuming too much.
Statements like this lead me to believe that you're right in line with Van Til. Is this or is this not true? I don't know enough about Van Til's views to answer that.
Why not actually write the presuppositionalism article? Why don't you? You appear to have studied it more than me.
If you disagree with any of this we'll all appreciate you being specific about what it is. I've already said that I disagree with what Hamster said, but you reject that, so what's the point of me disagreeing with what you claim? Would you believe me, whom you consider to be dishonest?
Neither of you have answered direct questions about this this. Where did you (or anyone) ask direct questions about this?
Your vandalism of my userpage here... I have not vandalised you user page. Funny how you call me "dishonest" but you make false claims like this!
...fails to make any specific claims. On the contrary, it makes several specific claims, such as the claim that you have switched between talking about our intentions and your opinion on our explanations, and the claim that faith is related to reason.
So why don't we have the foundational discussion before we indulge more of your vagueness? If you were willing to discuss in good faith I might be prepared to go along with that, but with your false accusations (including accusing CPalmer of trolling), rejection of what I say, etc., what's the point?
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 01:52, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
Asp did ask me on a talk page if I was arguing presuppositional apologetics, but I didn't bother answering as the question seemed to be rhetorical, and a hipshot, and was in the middle of other discussion. I don't know much about the material that Asp has been so assiduously studying, but from the quotes he has provided I cannot say I hold to the views of Van Til et alia. I will say that there is a risk of serious misapprehension in taking the willingness to acknowledge the existence of presuppositions to mean subscription to a particular philosophical movement (and its particulars). I think Teh Terrible Asp has realised that risk. LowKey 03:06, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
So it wasn't a "direct question" and it wasn't to both of us. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 12:33, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
I agree. That's the closest match to to the claim that I could think of, though, so even though it's not what Teh Terrible Asp claimed I figured it may be what he was referring to. LowKey 22:51, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

Since you are a latecomer, I recommend that you read here and its talk page; these talk pages and archives: here, here, and here; this talk page and archive (and even further back); and Ace's essay. Philip can't even concede when he's wrong, let alone challenge his "worldview." If you still think it's worth it, then good luck! I'm sticking to math problems and not much else. Sterile 19:32, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

Where have you ever conceded that you were wrong or challenged your worldview, Sterile? Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 01:31, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

Perhaps I can be of assistance......

there. Ace McWicked 22:14, 4 December 2010 (UTC)

Are you trying to insult his intelligence with that bit of nonsense? Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 02:06, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
-) !!!!``!!!
yeah, but at least I am trying. Ace McWicked 04:34, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
Are you trying to insult his intelligence with that bit of nonsense? Typical creationist ad hom. Ace McWicked 06:40, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
Do you even know the meaning of the term? Ad hominem refers to the argument being directed to the person. I was commenting about the quality of the link content. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 09:14, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
Do you even know the meaning of the term? Ad hominem refers to the argument being directed to the person. I was commenting about the quality of the link content. Creationist handwaving. Tomorrow I got some hard science for you Phil, hopefully you can deal with it better than you did here. Ace McWicked 09:40, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
Another term you don't know the meaning of? I pointed out the fallacy of your claim. That is not "handwaving". Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 11:28, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, my attempts at humour appear to have gone over your head. Ace McWicked 19:39, 5 December 2010 (UTC)

Creation-evolution controversy

I wouldn't bother trying to edit that page. It's Philip's pet, and he refuses to let anyone edit it in any way to take out the weasel words or distortions. It is sickening, isn't it? Sterile

He and LowKey are apparently willing in this case to let my edit stand, with only minor changes. --Awc 22:08, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
We are always willing to let reasonable edits stand. But many people here simply want to hide the uncomfortable truth about evolutionists and insert their own POV. And this is now the second time on this page (Awc's talk page) that someone has suggested that he was wasting his time by accusing us of being unreasonable after it was clear that the accusation was groundless. There are none so blind as those who will not see. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 01:17, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
FWIW, Awc, although I don't think we have ever crossed paths at WP I have seen your work there and generally found your approach reasonable, and the same is true here at aSK. Like any wiki, a new edit will generally attract some tweaks, and I find it reassuring that you haven't generally objected to this. LowKey 04:52, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

I don't know what your intentions are here, but just a warning: everyone gets tired of it after awhile; I can't figure out why you haven't gotten frustrated like the rest of us. I used to have fairly civil conversations with Philip, but I can't stand him any more. But whatever. Sterile 00:14, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

RW on soft sediment deformation

I see you've added this link to your list of links. I know you're simply gathering sources without necessarily assessing them, but seriously, this RW one??

They say "Creationists assume that the world is less than 6000 years old and that it is unlikely that rock could be distort in that little time unless it was soft. But rocks are not soft..." Duh! Creationists know they are not soft. And secular geologists agree that they started out soft. The creationist argument is that they were deformed before hardening, not that they are not hard. To argue that creationists are wrong because they are not soft is... incomprehensible! This is not an accidental wording: the point is made several times:

  • "rocks are indeed very hard"
  • "rocks are not soft"
  • "rock is emphatically NOT soft and malleable"
  • "rocks aren't actually soft"

They also indulge in the logical fallacy of Your theory does not work under my theory, so your theory must be wrong by arguing that the creationist argument for a young Earth fails because "the world is far older than 6000 years old".

Their claim that "the deformation of rock strata - because rock is emphatically NOT soft and malleable - is one of the key pieces of evidence that shows the age of the Earth is much older than the 6000-10,000 years claimed by those in the YEC movement." is barely coherent. They are saying that the fact that rock is deformed shows that it's old. Because it's solid. Huh?

"the slow deformation of rock strata is one theory that is independently observed" Yeah? So who's been observing it for millions of years? Their objection might be the red herring that "this is a standard creationist argument; that we've never "observed" the millions of years". But if so, that misses the point. The point is that we can observe soft material being deformed in a short time, but we can't observe hard material being deformed (without fracturing) over (short or) long periods of time. In this context of observation vs. non-observation, their argument is very specifically saying that slow deformation has been observed, which it clearly hasn't been.

"If rocks could be soft enough to undergo these sorts of alterations, we'd certainly see some examples of it happening now and this really isn't the case." As opposed to seeing hard rocks deforming now?

"Soft-sediment approaches also don't explain the observations where by rock has deformed but has since weathered away and had new layers added to it, creating discontinuities in the strata." A non-self-evident unsubstantiated assertion, and completely false. There is no difficulty whatsoever in explaining such discontinuities from a creationist perspective.

"fossilisation processes are inconsistent with flood geology" This completely unsubstantiated assertion is also clearly false, as many secular geologists agree that many fossils needed to be buried rapidly as in floods (they aren't talking about global floods, but the point is that the processes are entirely consistent with being buried in flood sediment).

"the observation of fossils within such structures ... and how they are deformed are not consistent with soft-sediment." Because...? Again, there's no substantiation at all.

In summary, if that article is to be believed, creationists are wrong to say that deformation occurred before the rocks hardened because rocks are hard, because the uniformitarians are right, and because the evidence (somehow) doesn't fit the creationist view. The article has no more substance than that, and is poor even by RW's low standards.

Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:00, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

All in due time. So far I have only googled a bit and collected sites. Those without substance will be winnowed out. (Although I may find more substance in this article than you did.) I have the ambition to cover these issues more than superficially, but I am finding that takes a lot of time, which is a commodity I need to use stingily. --Awc 14:32, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
I may find more substance in this article than you did And pigs might fly. Yeah, okay, perhaps their references will yield something. But I didn't just pick the silly bits out to highlight. I essentially covered it all. There's nothing else there. But be my guest. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 11:32, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
You're right on this one. Whatever facts may or may not be behind this article, it is so incoherently written that it is easier to throw it out and start over. As for the references, the first link is useless and the second dead. Anyway, I know that RationalWiki is not a Reliable Source for encyclopedia article space. Even Wikipedia, which is 100 times better than RW and very helpful for orientation, should not be cited. --Awc 08:39, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Sorry!

Sorry for always butting in to your discussions. I've gone round and round with these guys, and sometimes it pushes you over the edge when the next person comes along and they pretend like they forgot everything they learned from previous discussions or misremember their incredulity as some sort of refutation. I think you're doing a good job of carefully documenting your work, so it will be that much harder for them when someone else comes along. Keep up the good work! Womprfirst 14:42, 14 March 2011 (UTC)

There are two things I hate. One is going around in circles and the other is going in so many directions at once that no single issue gets resolved. That's why I am trying to ignore for now everything that is outside the realm of physics/astronomy/geology, and to document everything within that realm. --Awc 15:18, 14 March 2011 (UTC)

he/she

Are you a he or a she? A stab in the dark I picked he, but maybe I'm wrong?

Actually, I think a good idea would be to put on each user's page their gender - just so it's clear which pronoun to use when talking about them. (If anyone has an objection to revealing their actual gender, they can always pretend to be the other one, how would we know?) --Maratrean 07:54, 8 May 2011 (UTC)

{{ template | This user is a | he }} Awc 08:41, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
An addition (optional parameter) to {{member}}? Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 12:44, 8 May 2011 (UTC)

Best of luck ....

... with the information stuff. I'll stay out of it, but I feel like we've been down these roads many time before (perhaps backfiring. It always seems very handwavy to me! Sterile 01:36, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

Your problem with references

See Note A on this page. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:37, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

Your analysis

I think that's about all I have for you; if I think of any others, I'll be sure to pass them on. I'm curious how your analysis ends up. Sterile 00:58, 7 October 2011 (UTC)

I'm curious about that, too. There's room for revelations. For example, I found the thesis of Meyers in "Step away from that ladder" very thought provoking, that humans may not be any more complex than bugs or bacteria in any objectifiable way.
Thanks for your help. Sometime I feel a little lonely trying to do real research on this site.
--Awc 07:32, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
I'm out for a while. This is getting tedious, and he's not even trying to answer your questions. And when you bring biology into it, he just avoids it and goes back to cars and vehicles. Sterile 01:48, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

I would like to take a look at this article, "Emergence of Information Transmission in a Prebiotic RNA Reactor";

abstract:

A poorly understood step in the transition from a chemical to a biological world is the emergence of self-replicating molecular systems. We study how a precursor for such a replicator might arise in a hydrothermal RNA reactor, which accumulates longer sequences from unbiased monomer influx and random ligation. In the reactor, intra- and intermolecular base pairing locally protects from random cleavage. By analyzing stochastic simulations, we find temporal sequence correlations that constitute a signature of information transmission, weaker but of the same form as in a true replicator.

A summary of it is here. I think I need to read it more carefully to get agood sense of the word "information."

I don't usually like to ILL for the purpose of my own interests outside my research, but it might be worth it. I'm also not sure if physicists are properly "anti-creationist." Sterile 01:45, 30 November 2011 (UTC) ADD: Ah, free: [1]. Sterile 01:48, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

quote for you

In response to these demonstrations however, IDC proponents belatedly ‘reinterpret’ their initial claims in order to lift them out of the critic’s reach. A first strategy to this end consists in shifting the burden of proof from plausible evolutionary pathways to the actual evolutionary story, maintaining that the broad outlines of a plausible evolutionary account amounts to nothing more than Darwinian wishful thinking and speculation. The same bait-and-switch technique can be discerned here: IC is constantly boasted as a point of principle for ruling out the possibility of evolutionary explanations, but as soon as it is challenged on that ground, through a discussion of plausible evolutionary scenarios, ID creationists pretend that they were talking about actual evolutionary pathways all along.

When they are confronted with tangible evidence of actual evolutionary history, IDC theorists resort to a second strategy, shifting their design claims to the remaining parts of the evolutionary puzzle, as if the ‘real’ problem was always there. For example, Kenneth Miller (2004) beautifully demonstrated the structural similarities between one component of the flagellum and the so called type III-secretory system. He convincingly argued that the former is a very plausible evolutionary precursor of the latter, which has been co-opted by evolution to perform a new function. In response to this embarrassing demonstration, Behe (2001:689-690) simply shifted his attention to the complexity of the newly discovered system by itself, and at the same time stubbornly insisted that the assemblage of these precursors into the flagellum system is still impossible without the helping hand of a Designer (Behe, 2004:359).

[2] Sterile 03:39, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

I see someone has walked down exactly the same path before us. Thanks. —Awc 08:39, 9 December 2011 (UTC)
I have to process this one: [3] Sterile 03:34, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Some interesting stuff in there.
Thus, those parts of the genome that do correspond to something (the non-neutral fraction, that is) correspond in fact to the environment the genome lives in. Deutsch (19) referred to this view by saying that “genes embody knowledge about their niches.”
That's why I disagree with Philip's contention that natural selection cannot increase information. (For the sake of his argument, of course, he can define any quantity he wants. It's just presumptuous of him to think that's the one and only true way to think about information.)
In other words, information cannot be lost in such an event because a mutation corrupting the information is purged due to the corrupted genome's inferior fitness (this holds strictly for asexual populations only).
Not only can information increase, it cannot decrease. (With information defined in this way and under certain circumstances.)
—Awc 08:10, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, I got confused. That was about the reference you just added to Research:Genetic information. —Awc 08:12, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
It's a minor side issue, but in Jason Rosenhouse's report from the 2005 Creation Mega Conference, he says Gitt asserted
Laws of nature are unchanging in time (past, present or future).
That would be news to the creationists who believe that the laws of radioactive decay have changed in a way that makes rocks look older than they are. —Awc 08:44, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, the PNAS paper is a gem, as they use information and then actually measure it. I agree that's a good but confusing point about Gitt. Anyway, back to work! Sterile 18:33, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

It may be fruitless

to try to discuss anything with someone who not only is scientifically illiterate, but also prefers to stay that way as well. Sterile 13:47, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

I'm sort of

impressed you are still here doing this. I spent a lot of time reading about intelligent design a few years ago and certainly have looked at Answers Research Journal and some creation.com stuff. However, I can take it for only so long. I guess I can predict what Philip will say about things, and the fascination of "what does a creationist think" has worn off. Or maybe I just need a longer break.

Anwyay,

Sterile 05:42, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

You must have jinxed him—he's leaving!
Seriously, I'm sorry to see you go, Awc. It was good having someone who was actually prepared to address the claims instead of just/largely throwing insults, trying to impose their own ideology, etc.
You said:

On the whole, however, he does not engage with the evidence. It's as though he has not only decided what his conclusion will be, but also that whatever evidence turns up must necessarily support that conclusion. I have long entertained the fantasy that he would question his beliefs a tiny bit, if only I amassed enough evidence and presented it clearly. It seems now that wasn't enough.

I'm not sure that I follow what you mean by "engaging" with the evidence. I don't ignore it; I address it. Sure, I often don't see it the way you do; is that all you mean?
Your next sentence shows that you haven't grasped one of the main issues, although it's probably not one I've put to you enough. That is that we all have the same evidence, but interpret it differently, because we are all looking at the evidence through our own worldview "glasses". The evidence does not speak for itself, and we don't look at the evidence completely objectively all the time.
Regarding your second sentence, I feel that I could make the same criticism of you: It's as though you have not only decided what your conclusion will be, but also that whatever evidence turns up must necessarily support that conclusion. You are looking through naturalistic glasses, and I am looking through biblical glasses. You have concentrated on scientific evidence, and have not considered historical and other evidence supporting the theistic/creationist viewpoint. It's as though you are a follower of scientism, the belief that only scientific evidence counts for anything. Like scientists who adopt "methodological" naturalism and argue that they are not discounting God, you probably don't actually believe that only science counts, but have acted as though you do by only considering that field of evidence.
Of course, without limiting your deliberations in some way, this is a very broad topic, and it's hard to try and get one's mind around it all, let alone give it adequate consideration. You say that it is as though I've already decided my conclusion. It can look like this when one has already considered the evidence and already come to a conclusion. I have the advantage over you (I presume) in that I've been studying this stuff for well over three decades. Of course, that doesn't mean that I've considered every bit of evidence (far from it), but I've seen the basic types of arguments over and over, and have a fair idea where to find the holes.
There's also the matter of faith, and this gets back to worldview glasses. Based on evidence (historical, scientific, past discussions), I have faith that what I know biblically will turn out to be true. Many, many, people have thought that the Bible was wrong in some respect or other, only for the Bible to be vindicated later. A case in point was Arthur Rendle Short, who was a well-known and respected evangelist in Britain (as well as being a professor of surgery at Bristol University), but had his faith challenged by the so-called scientific evidence. This evidence was so strong that he compromised his belief in Genesis and felt that he had to accept at least some of the evolutionary/long-age story. Being an influential evangelical, his compromise influenced many other Christians in the same direction. Less than ten weeks after he died, the bit of evidence that had convinced him that Genesis could not be taken literally was shown to be a hoax. I'm talking about Piltdown Man. There are many cases of Christians compromising with the "science", when it turned out that they didn't need to.
Many naturalists have expressed the faith that "science" can explain the things as yet unexplainable (by science), or as I've also heard it put, that a natural[istic] explanation can be found for everything. They usually do not use the word "faith" nor do they concede that they have faith, but that's what it is. Yes, like Christian faith, it is faith based on evidence, the evidence that natural explanations have been found for many things in the past, so they believe that this will apply to everything. Similarly, I have faith that, as has happened so often, naturalistic explanations will prove to be inadequate, implausible, or contrived, and the evidence will continue to be consistent with a biblical view. That sort of faith can appear to others like not being open to alternative points of view. What is important, I believe, is in being prepared to address the arguments put. I have been doing this, as have you, although I sometimes think that you're not really open, as you think similarly of me.
You've made various comments on various talk pages that I've not gotten around to responding to. In most cases I still will, for the sake of other readers, even though you will no longer be part of the conversation.
Anyway, best wishes.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 13:11, 22 April 2012 (UTC)
we all have the same evidence, but interpret it differently, because we are all looking at the evidence through our own worldview "glasses". That is a tired excuse, and I am sick of hearing it. I have gone to great lengths to make sure that my arguments do not make any presuppositions on the existence of supernatural causes or the age of the world. Half the time you accuse me of making presuppostions anyway, without specifying where they enter my argument.
You have concentrated on scientific evidence, and have not considered historical and other evidence supporting the theistic/creationist viewpoint. I also made significant contributions to Bible (especially Bible#Archaeological evidence) and Alleged problems in the Bible. We were rolling up our sleeves to take a critical look at some of the prophecies, but you and LowKey dropped the topic. I have concentrated on scientific evidence and considered historical and other evidence as well.
I have faith that what I know biblically will turn out to be true. I don't have a problem with that position. What I'm missing is a willingness to admit that the scientific evidence currently available points to an old Earth, etc.
I wish you the best.
—Awc 19:20, 22 April 2012 (UTC)
If you let your "worldview" dictate, or in any way alter, the output of science then you are not doing science. Jaxe 22:48, 22 April 2012 (UTC)
That is a tired excuse, and I am sick of hearing it. I have gone to great lengths to make sure that my arguments do not make any presuppositions on the existence of supernatural causes or the age of the world. Half the time you accuse me of making presuppostions anyway, without specifying where they enter my argument. It's not an excuse, and there have been quite a few times where you've tried to not make presuppositions but have made them anyway, and I have pointed out how.
I also made significant contributions to Bible… I'd forgotten them, but that's only a small part of what I was referring to anyway.
What I'm missing is a willingness to admit that the scientific evidence currently available points to an old Earth, etc. That's because I don't believe that it does.
If you let your "worldview" dictate, or in any way alter, the output of science then you are not doing science. Which is precisely the argument for saying that evolution is not science. But even apart from that, you are wrong, as I have often explained. It is a Christian worldview that allows us to do science; the view that the universe is a rational place that we are able to study, and that we have the ability to study it because our senses relay reality to us, comes from the view that a rational and consistent God created a rational and consistent universe and us. The atheist view that we are the result of a series of accidents doesn't provide that basis. See Science#Origins and Science stopper#Atheism as a science stopper.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:08, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
It is a Christian worldview that allows us to do science Science is done by people of all faiths, cultures and beliefs. Christianity is but one of many religions. There are atheist scientists, Islamic scientists etc etc. Are you saying because they are not Christian they are not doing science? MaxFletcher 04:23, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
Before I answer, did you read and understand my first link in my previous post (Science#Origins)? Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 08:37, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
Your link does not answer my question. This is a very simple question, are scientists who are not Christian and have an atheist/Islamic/Shinto world view doing science? MaxFletcher 21:39, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
I didn't say that the link would (directly) answer your question (although it does make you question look unnecessary), because your question was about what I thought. But your reply doesn't answer my—also very simple—question, which was: did you read and understand the link? I would like to know that you understood it before I answer your question. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 02:45, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
I do not understand the relevance of your link to the straightforward question (which I'll rephrase here for simplicity) "are scientists who do not have a Christian worldview doing science?" MaxFletcher 03:49, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
I do not understand your reluctance to answer my straightforward question, which is relevant because it is the basis for my comments which prompted your question. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 08:29, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
Science#Origins doesn't exist. Do you mean Science#Christian origins? If I were still active here, I would change that to "Abrahamic Origins", since none of the beliefs listed there is unique to Christianity. —Awc 08:55, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
I normally link to (and meant) Science#Philosophy, actually. As for the beliefs there, I've never been happy with how well they were explained, and you're right that in theory none are exclusively Christian. However, at least one (Adam's fall) is not a direct teaching of Scripture, and I suspect may not have been accepted by other Abrahamic religions.
However, there are also the comments from historians, etc. (my emphases):
  • …the belief in a personal rational Creator ... as cultivated especially within a Christian matrix…
  • …theological assumptions unique to Christianity explain why science was born only in Christian Europe.
  • …Recent work on early modern science has demonstrated a direct (and positive) relationship between the resurgence of the Hebraic, literal exegesis of the Bible in the Protestant Reformation
However, having pointed that out, I have to admit that there are also quotes there referring to things like the "Judeo-Christian" beliefs and even explicitly "the ancient Hebrews". What appears to be the case is that monotheism (Abrahamic religions) provided part of the basis, Christianity a further part, and Protestantism put the icing on the cake, like you keep "adding up" factors until you have science. Judaism therefore provided the foundations, but wasn't enough by itself. I know I've read reasons why Jews and Muslims didn't develop science, although I'm not sure exactly what they are at the moment.
Hold on a tic—here's one thing I read: from reviews of "The Closing of the Muslim Mind: How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern Islamist Crisis" (I haven't read the book):
  • "Islamic civilization . . . threw out of the intellectual window the principles of rational inquiry that the Greeks had first introduced to the West half a millennium before Christ."
  • "The lack of liberty within Islam is a huge problem. Robert Reilly’s The Closing of the Muslim Mind shows that a millennium ago Muslims debated whether minds should be free to explore the world—and freedom lost. The intellectual history he offers helps to explain why Muslim countries fell behind Christian-based ones in scientific inquiry, economic development, and technology."
I guess that the point is that it wasn't just the biblical teaching which is common to all three Abrahamic religions, but the culture that each religion separately shaped. I may be a bit off-track here, but Jews largely saw God as just for them, not for Gentiles. Christianity saw God as for everybody, and unlike Judaism and Islam was prepared to adopt the good points of other cultures. So unlike the Jews and Islam, Christianity incorporated the ancient Greek spirit of inquiry (which wasn't enough by itself, but coupled with the biblical worldview they got from the Jews) so went places that the other religions didn't. Another example is from the description of "The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution":
  • "medieval craftsmen and scientists not only made discoveries of their own, but seized upon Eastern inventions--printing, gunpowder, and the compass--and improved them beyond the dreams of their originators"
"Abrahamic religions"? Yes, but more specifically, Christianity.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 15:42, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

Okay, time to take stock...

Mr Rayment, all I am seeing from you is obfuscation. Let me surmise...

You state: It is a Christian worldview that allows us to do science
I asked you whether someone doing science with another religious point of view is still doing science.
You responded by asking if I had read you link
I was confused because your link was only tangentially related to the question and I failed to see the relevance so I asked my question again
You fail to answer again, to what is quite a straightforward question, and hilariously accuse me of not answering the question when it is you who are having a question asked of you.

I am not reluctant to answer anything Rayment, I don't see the relevance in your link so let me ask again in a simpler, easier to understand way.
Hypothetically: I am a atheist and I am practicing a science. Am I, in your opinion, doing science?
You made the statement "It is a Christian worldview that allows us to do science" so is the atheist who doesn't have a Christian worldview doing science? MaxFletcher 20:50, 25 April 2012 (UTC)

all I am seeing from you is obfuscation. I have not obfuscated, and I resent that claim.
Let me surmise... Do you mean summarise?
I asked you whether someone doing science with another religious point of view is still doing science. That's not exactly what you asked. You asked if I thought that. You may think the difference is insignificant, but I'll mention below why I highlight the difference
You responded by asking if I had read you link That is misleading. I did ask if you had read the link. I also asked if you understood it. But, importantly, I also indicated that I would answer your question, but I wanted you to answer mine first.
was confused because your link was only tangentially related to the question and I failed to see the relevance so I asked my question again I pointed out that the link is quite relevant to the question. I also pointed out that the reason it doesn't directly answer your question was because your question was about what I thought, which of course the article didn't answer. Now that you have changed the question to remove the part about my personal opinion, the link is very relevant.
You fail to answer again, to what is quite a straightforward question… No, I didn't "fail". I deliberately declined because you "failed" (refused) to answer my question.
…to what is quite a straightforward question… As was my question.
…and hilariously accuse me of not answering the question… Hilariously? How is it hilarious that I accuse you of doing the same as you accuse me of when that is in fact the case? Are you amused by straight facts?
…when it is you who are having a question asked of you. It is not just me. You are also having a question asked of you.
…I am not reluctant to answer anything Rayment… The name's Philip. And clearly you are reluctant, as you have repeatedly refused to answer it, without indicating any commitment to do so, simply because you don't see the relevance (see my reply to your next point). Also, your refusal to answer the question is unlike mine, as I have indicated that I'm quite prepared to answer the question.
I don't see the relevance in your link… Yet I have pointed out, in general terms at least, how it is relevant. But surely the more important point is that the person you are asking the question of (me) thinks that it is relevant to the answer, and surely I'm in a better position to know how it is relevant to my answer than you are, given that, by definition (of you asking the question) you don't know what my answer is!
…so let me ask again in a simpler, easier to understand way. I've had enough of this. I'm not answering your question because of your bad attitude. I have previously indicated that I am prepared to answer the question once you answer a relevant (in my opinion) prerequisite one of mine, yet here you are implying either that I haven't answered because I'm not clever enough to understand your question (despite giving no indication that I think the question is hard to understand), or that I'm lying about why I have not yet answered it.
Nevertheless, I will relent and answer your question if you (a) retract and apologise for your claim that I've obfuscated, (b) apologise for your inference that I'm stupid or lying, (c) tell me that you have read the link, and (d) tell me that you have understood it. Otherwise, this conversation is over.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 02:58, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
A) I believe you have obfuscated
B) I never inferred you were stupid or lying (but you exceedingly rude)
C) I read the link
D) I do not understand it's relevance to my extremely straightforward yes/no question
I can now see why the only traffic you get is spam. You are not a nice person and arrogant in the extreme. MaxFletcher 03:23, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
P.S. I'll only answer you question is you answer mine" is a prime example of obfuscation when I have answered I don't understand the relevance and when you refuse to answer unless I give you the answer you want. "It is a Christian worldview that allows us to do science" so is the atheist who doesn't have a Christian worldview doing science? MaxFletcher 03:26, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
A) I believe you have obfuscated You need to demonstrate it, not simply claim it. (You did attempt to demonstrated it in your next post. I'll get to that.)
B) I never inferred you were stupid or lying (but you exceedingly rude) You said "let me ask again in a simpler, easier to understand way". Given that I had not hinted in the slightest that the question was hard to understand, but had instead put a requirement on me answering, your comment indicated that you thought the real problem was that I couldn't understand the question, contrary to what I actually said. That is an implication of me being stupid or lying.
D) I do not understand it's relevance to my extremely straightforward yes/no question The question was whether you understood the link, not whether you understood its relevance.
You are not a nice person and arrogant in the extreme. Says the person who implies that I'm stupid or lying, who refuses to answer a question despite expecting me to answer one, and who calls me arrogant without showing that I am.
P.S. I'll only answer you question is you answer mine" is a prime example of obfuscation… Obfuscate: "to deliberately make something confusing or difficult to understand". Simply asking if you have read and understood something does not qualify as deliberately making something confusing or difficult to understand. For one thing, what was I trying to make confusing or difficult to understand? I simply asked a question!
(Apart from clarifying on D), this discussion is about new matters you raised, not about your question.)
A) You are confusing the issue with your comments. You made a claim about worldviews and science, I have asked you a simple question regarding your own statement that you are able to state without qualifier but when asked to elaborate you all of sudden throw up new questions and refuse to answer unless your terms are satisfied (which I have done three times - I don't see the relevance). I am not going to argue the definition of Obfuscate and you can defend yourself all you like against the charge but to me that is what you are doing and that you can't see it is meaningless.
B) I never meant to infer you were lying or stupid.
The above A and B are mere distractions. You stated, plainly, It is a Christian worldview that allows us to do science. If you can state that plainly, without qualifier, how can you not answer is the atheist who doesn't have a Christian worldview doing science? plainly? MaxFletcher 04:18, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
There's not much new here, so in line with me not discussing this further, I won't comment further, except to respond to a couple of new matters:
…which I have done three times - I don't see the relevance… I asked you if you had read and understood. Saying that you don't see the relevance is not an answer; it's an excuse why you're not answering.
I never meant to infer you were lying or stupid. I'm happy to accept that you did not mean to. So you should have no problem apologising for that inadvertent implication, correct?
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 06:14, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Philip, now I am wondering what is actually wrong with you here. If someone quotes something to me and I respond "I don't see the relevance" it implies I have read it and have not understood how it is relevant to the conversation. It is very simple. It is an answer and not an excuse. The fact you are still banging on about this when I have answered the same way 4 times is more proof of your obfuscation. I feel silly even having to explain this to you.
Why would I apologise for something I never said, thought or implied? I have done nothing to apologise for.
I have answered your question 4 times now so please answer mine: You stated, plainly, It is a Christian worldview that allows us to do science so is the atheist who doesn't have a Christian worldview doing science? MaxFletcher 20:56, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

Oh, all right. I'm not really convinced, but you've made a half-decent case that it was a misunderstanding, so in an act of good faith I'll give you my answer. Before that, though, I want to makes some points.

I said "I didn't say that the link would (directly) answer your question (although it does make you question look unnecessary), because your question was about what I thought. But your reply doesn't answer my—also very simple—question, which was: did you read and understand the link? I would like to know that you understood it before I answer your question."

Your reply was "I do not understand the relevance of your link to the straightforward question". I still fail to see why you could not have simply answered, if you wished, "Yes, I have read it and understand what it is saying, but don't understand its relevance". It should have been abundantly clear that (a) I was not offering that link as my answer, and (b) my answer would be forthcoming. And surely you could have concluded that the relevance might become clear once I did provide my answer.

Why would I apologise for something I never said, thought or implied? I have done nothing to apologise for. I wasn't asking you to apologise for something you never said, thought, or implied. I was asking for an apology for something that you did imply. That you didn't think it doesn't mean that you didn't imply it. I cited what you implied, explaining why it implied it. You have not refuted anything I said in that.

Okay, back to actually answering your question. The link included numerous quotes testifying to the fact that it was a Christian (or monotheistic or Judaistic) worldview that was the basis for science. Do you see any hint by any of those numerous authorities that this means that only Christians can do science? I certainly don't. Rather, I see implications the other way. For example, we have the non-Christian Loren Eiseley saying, "science, which professionally has little to do with faith, owes its origins to an act of faith that the universe can be rationally interpreted, and that science today is sustained by that assumption." The clear implication here is that all science—whether done by Christians or not—is based on this particular aspect of a Christian worldview.

Then there's Lynn White, Jr.: "modern Western science was cast in the matrix of Christian theology". Again, the clear implication is that all science (not just that done by Christians) is based on a Christian worldview.

Also, P. E. Hodgson: "scientific research requires certain basic beliefs about the order and rationality of matter, and its accessibility to the human mind . . . they came to us in their full force through the Judeo-Christian belief in an omnipotent God, creator and sustainer of all things." Yet again, the clear implication is that this Judeo-Christian belief underlies all science, not just that done by Christians.

It's particularly clear in the quote from Paul Davies, also not a Christian:

However, even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith that the universe is not absurd, that there is rational basis to physical existence manifested as lawlike order in nature that is at least part comprehensible to us. So science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological world view.

Davies is talking explicitly about atheistic scientists adopting "an essentially theological world view". That is, you can hold (part of) a Christian worldview without being a Christian.

So now for my answer: I'm with them: science has a Christian basis, but that does not mean that if you are not a Christian you can't do science. I've said numerous times before on this site (and elsewhere) that atheism provides no absolute basis for morals, but that doesn't mean that atheists can't be moral. Rather, they adopt their morality (to a fair extent) from the society in which they live, and that is often a society with a Christian heritage. So atheists often adopt Christian morality (in fact Richard Dawkins says pretty-well this explicitly of himself). Similarly here; atheism provides no basis for doing science, but atheist scientists can still do science because they adopt an essentially Christian worldview for the basics.

As you had, as you now indicate, read and understood my link including those quotes, I really have to wonder why you felt the need to ask the question in the first place.

Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:41, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

atheism provides no basis for doing science Completely wrong. If an atheist looks towards to the night sky and sees a bright light he can investigate it like any other and study it like any other. The atheist, using his disbelief, discounts "god/s" as an answer and through science determines that light he/she saw was a new comet. MaxFletcher 01:40, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Completely wrong. Huh? Why? You give a "reason", but that reason completely fails to address the points in the link provided. The link that I asked you if you read and understood, for which you berated me for not understanding that you told me that you had read and understood. So why didn't you address those points? Did you in fact not read and understand them? Or are you being deliberately argumentative? he can investigate it like any other How, given that that investigation requires a presupposition that derives from a Christian (or similar) worldview? Please do not answer that without addressing the points raised in the link. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 02:01, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
I am addressing your specific claims that atheism provides no basis for doing science and have provided an example of why that is not so. I am not taking a backwards step to readdress a link I never started discussing in the first place. You made a specific claim and I have answered that using atheism as a basis for science (in the example I gave: I presuppose the light I saw is not god therefore it must be something else. Using that basis the atheist discovers a comet). Why would I address points I am not disputing or commenting on? To repeat I am addressing specific claims you have made. MaxFletcher 02:31, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
What you call a "specific claim" is in fact the claim that is explained in that link, and which claim you disputed. So your claim now that a link I never started discussing in the first place is patently false. If I said "Joe said that such-and-such is the case, and I agree with him", for you to question me then claim that you are not discussing what Joe said is patent nonsense.
Your "answer" does not use atheism as a basis for science. Rather, it uses atheism as a basis for that particular question, by a priori ruling out a possible explanation of the observation (that the light was God). Ruling out a possible explanation on philosophical grounds is, surely, anti-scientific! Note that a Christian view of this observation would not jump to the conclusion that the light was God. Unlike your athiestic example, it would be open to where the evidence led, whether that be a natural or a supernatural explanation, and just like in your imaginary example, would conclude that the light was a comet (presuming, of course, that it really was a comet).
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:32, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Not accepting a conclusion when there are multiple, converging lines of evidence is also not scientific. And insisting that you are correct with strong, contrary evidence is outright denial. Sterileevolutionist story telling! 20:32, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
"Also" not scientific? So you agree that naturalistic "science" is not scientific. Good. Otherwise, your comment can apply equally to naturalistic scientists as you believe that it does to me. You are stating a truism, not actually making an argument. Your comment is like saying "Telling a lie is deceitful", without actually showing that anyone is lying. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 00:23, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Your "answer" does not use atheism as a basis for science yes it does. The whole investigation is based upon the light not being a god therefore it must be something else.
it would be open to where the evidence led, whether that be a natural or a supernatural explanation so the Christian would be open to the idea that the light was caused by Zeus? MaxFletcher 01:26, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
yes it does. How?
The whole investigation is based upon the light not being a god therefore it must be something else. Yes, but how is that "science"?
You've made an assertion, but not backed it with argument, except for something that doesn't actually address the point.
so the Christian would be open to the idea that the light was caused by Zeus? Is Zeus even supposed to be capable of causing light in space?
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 01:59, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Philip, if you are going to tq comments please do it honesty. When I said yes it does it was followed by the example. Which you split off and answered separately.
How is that science? Don't play dumb. The atheist based his scientific inquiry, his "doing science", on the precept that it isn't god/god.
Is Zeus even supposed to be capable of causing light in space? He was know to throw thunderbolts, yes. But that isn't the point and you know it - but let me rephrase anyway... it would be open to where the evidence led, whether that be a natural or a supernatural explanation So the Christian is open to the fact it could be other gods besides his own? MaxFletcher 03:34, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
I don't believe that I was dishonest. Yes, I did "split off" the example, but I didn't ignore the example, and I also justified treating it separately by saying that it didn't actually address the point. If I had ignored and not addressed the example, or had treated it as though it wasn't even meant to support the claim, your accusation would have had some merit. But I did not do that, so I was not being dishonest. Your accusations of me not being reasonable seem to flow rather freely.
Don't play dumb. I'm not.
The atheist based his scientific inquiry, his "doing science", on the precept that it isn't god/god. That's your claim, but you've not shown that his inquiry was actually scientific.
He was know to throw thunderbolts, yes. Thunderbolts are atmospheric phenomenon, not something that would occur in space. So the answer is "no", not yes.
But that isn't the point and you know it… So you're a mind-reader now, are you? Actually, it is relevant, as I'll explain in the rest of this reply.
So the Christian is open to the fact it could be other gods besides his own? Two responses, one on your wording, and then one on "the point". First, what do you mean by "gods"? "no other gods" is a reference to a biblical phrase which refers to false "gods", i.e. they are not really gods. So how could a Christian be open to something that is, by definition, non-existent? Note that: by definition, not by ideology. Now, let's assume that you are talking not about the biblical false gods, by a hypothetical real being. That is, let us hypothesise that Zeus is real. But in thinking about that, let's make the analogy even more absurd, to make it clearer. Suppose you told me that your baby brother caused the light in space. Would I, as a Christian scientist (hypothesising that that's what I am), "consider" your claim, or rule it out on ideological grounds? I'll tell you what I would do. I would dismiss the idea (that you baby brother caused the light in space) as nonsense because I know that babies do not have the capability of doing anything out in space. (That is, your baby brother is not a sufficient cause.) So does that mean that I have (a) considered your claim, or (b) dismissed your claim a priori? I have dismissed your claim, but I have dismissed it with reason, not a priori. So you could say that I have (briefly) considered it, and found it wanting.
The same applies to Zeus. My point was that Zeus' thunderbolts are not in space; that is, there is no reason to think that Zeus is even capable of producing the light in space. He is like your hypothetical baby brother in that he's not even a sufficient cause. So, in that sense, yes a Christian would "consider" Zeus, assuming that Zeus was a serious (as opposed to hypothetical) suggestion. And would immediately dismiss Zeus as not a sufficient cause.
So this is unlike the atheist who rules God out not because God is not a sufficient cause, but for an ideological (and therefore not scientific) reason.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 13:18, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Sorry Rayment, but it was dishonest. It was a single point broken by a period the yes it does was followed with the example. So please, don't do that again. It makes you look ridiculous, petty and unable to follow a proper conversation.
No, Rayment, the atheist doesn't reject god for a philosophical reason. Because scientifically it is completely unhelpful. Its an add on that is totally useless. "There is a light in the sky, oh it must be god" end of inquiry. Even if you don't end your inquiry and discover a comet, where it came from and when it'll be back you can just tack on "God" at the end. Utterly unhelpful scientifically.
How do you determine it isn't a god that you have never heard of? With my Zeus example what I was trying to impress upon you (which you buried in pages of your own special type of gibberish, analogy and wordplay) is that you say rejecting god from the outset isn't science but are you saying that Christians keep their minds open may be another god or gods? Helios is known to run his chariot across the sky, pulling the sun. Are you saying that Christians are open to the fact it might be Helios in his Chariot readying himself to pull the sun? MaxFletcher 21:11, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Sorry Rayment… As I've said before, the name is Philip.
…it was dishonest. It was a single point broken by a period the yes it does was followed with the example. So you've repeated your claim that it was dishonest. I've already pointed out why it wasn't. You've also described what I did ("It was a …the example"). But you have not explained how that makes it dishonest, nor how my argument that it wasn't dishonest is wrong.
So please, don't do that again. Why not? It's a perfectly legitimate thing to do in such a circumstance.
It makes you look ridiculous, petty and unable to follow a proper conversation. Says the person who fails to address what I write (including pointing out what my name is).
No, Rayment, the atheist doesn't reject god for a philosophical reason. I'm sure that there are many reasons, including being taught that there is no god, peer pressure, etc. But as a blanket statement you are wrong:

I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and naturally, hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don't want the universe to be like that.— Thomas Nagel, Professor of Philosophy at New York University

I had motive for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics, he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do, or why his friends should not seize political power and govern in the way that they find most advantageous to themselves. … For myself, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation, sexual and political.— Aldous Huxley

Because scientifically it is completely unhelpful. Its an add on that is totally useless. The origin of science as being based on a Christian worldview proves otherwise. Belief in God was (and remains) vital for science, as explained in that link you considered irrelevant.
"There is a light in the sky, oh it must be god" end of inquiry. You know, trying to prove your opponent wrong by inventing his approach is not a good form of argument. It's called a straw-man. Not only that, but I've already rejected that approach in my previous post. More evidence that you don't actually read what I write.
Even if you don't end your inquiry and discover a comet, where it came from and when it'll be back you can just tack on "God" at the end. Utterly unhelpful scientifically. Yes, just as your straw-man argument is utterly unhelpful to this discussion. But it's an interesting straw-man, raising the topic of the origin of comets. What would a secular scientist do (regarding the question of where it came from)? Actually, we don't need to speculate. We know what a secular scientist would do: he would invent the Oort cloud! Great science that! Invent an explanation because you don't know the answer.
How do you determine it isn't a god that you have never heard of? The same way that a secular scientist determines that an observation is not explained by something he has never heard of.
…(which you buried in pages of your own special type of gibberish, analogy and wordplay)… More gratuitous insults. Yet you call me arrogant!
With my Zeus example what I was trying to impress upon you … is that you say rejecting god from the outset isn't science but are you saying that Christians keep their minds open may be another god or gods? What you dismissed as "gibberish, analogy and wordplay" contained the answer to that. Didn't you read it?
Are you saying that Christians are open to the fact it might be Helios in his Chariot readying himself to pull the sun? Again, already answered. Didn't you read? Go back and reread the last part of my post where I talk about serious suggestions.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:37, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
I did what you suggested and reread your post and look: So how could a Christian be open to something that is, by definition, non-existent? So you admit that because of the biblical definition Christians rule out other gods as the atheist rules out all gods. Excellent. So what is the difference again?
And also because of your deceitful editing you have invented a strawman and applied it to me! I made no strawman, I explained a possible scenario but I didn't say that was the only scenario. Speculating on an outcome of an action (or an approach) is not a strawman Philip and I followed it up with a furtherance. So my saying a Christian could say "That's god and that's the end of it" is a very real speculation and not a strawman. But they way you cut it up makes it look like to different points instead of two related points. Dishonest.
Belief in God was (and remains) vital for science And back around we come. Are those who exclude god from their science actually doing science. Come on, out with it. MaxFletcher 04:01, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
So you admit that because of the biblical definition Christians rule out other gods as the atheist rules out all gods. Excellent. So what is the difference again? The difference is in the "by definition" bit. Atheists do not claim that God is non-existent "by definition". And my point was about the biblical reference to "other gods", as they are by definition not gods. However, I did not say that I automatically rule out all claimants of gods. So there's the difference that you asked about.
And also because of your deceitful editing… I'll get back to that.
I made no strawman, I explained a possible scenario but I didn't say that was the only scenario. That is quite misleading. If this was really just one possible scenario, you would have claimed only that certain explanations involving God were not science. But you instead claim that all explanations involving God are not science, and offer this "possible scenario" as evidence, with no hint that this example is not representative of all cases. Further, as I said, it was an explanation that I had already rejected. Also, that it is a "possible scenario" doesn't refute that you invented it, nor that it is a scenario that creationary scientists don't use.
Speculating on an outcome of an action (or an approach) is not a strawman Philip… It is if it is suggested that this is an approach that a creationist would take, when it isn't.
…I followed it up with a furtherance. So? The "furtherance" amounted to the same thing. Yes, you proposed a "possible scenario" in which a Christian might jump to "God did it", then suggested another scenario where he might discover a comet, then jump to "God did it"! That's not really a different scenario. That's making a point that rather than your "possible scenario" being just one option, every scenario ends with the same result.
So my saying a Christian could say "That's god and that's the end of it" is a very real speculation and not a strawman. The very fact that you admit that it's speculation means that it's not "very real", and therefore is not a refutation that it is indeed a strawman.
But they way you cut it up makes it look like to different points instead of two related points. Dishonest. Your post was all there, untouched, where anybody could read it and see the connection. The fact that I split it up to answer each (related) point separately is not dishonest.
And back around we come. Are those who exclude god from their science actually doing science. Come on, out with it. The first sentence there implies that you are repeating a question that you've asked before, in which case I have already answered that (in my post of 03:41, 27 April). Can I accuse you of being deceitful by implying that I haven't?
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 11:29, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
Refutation of a strawman? I have nothing to refute. Are you insane? I made no strawman and your application of deceitful editing made it look as though I had. I have no onus to refute your dishonesty outside of "no, that isn't a strawman". You say it isn't a likely scenario but it is indeed possible and, in fact, is the only outcome because when you get down to it we both think god did it at the end, and start, of all events so there is no strawman at all and you certainly haven't identified one.
There is no need to adopt a Christian worldview in order to study the mating habits of bats (for example). Or to investigate nuclear reactions in sun. Stephen Hawking believes in no god and his discovery of Hawking Radiation required no Christian worldview. MaxFletcher 21:14, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
Refutation of a strawman? I have nothing to refute. Except my documentation of your strawman.
Are you insane? More abuse. From one who called me arrogant and other things.
I made no strawman and your application of deceitful editing made it look as though I had. Excuse me? I documented that you did make a strawman, and documented how this was so despite my breaking it up. Simply denying that it was a strawman is not a refutation of my documentation of your strawman.
I have no onus to refute your dishonesty… I have denied that there was any dishonesty and have explained why it was not dishonest. You have (a) not shown that it was dishonest and (b) not refuted my explanation of why it's not; you've simply repeated the charge of dishonesty.
…outside of "no, that isn't a strawman". That's a denial, not a refutation.
You say it isn't a likely scenario… I did not. I did not use the word "likely" or any equivalent word or phrasing. Can I accuse you of dishonesty now?
…it is indeed possible… Yes, it's possible, but is that relevant? Can I say that an evolutionary scientist is not doing science because it's "possible" that he could invoke fairies at the bottom of the garden as a causal agent? That is, of course, a ridiculous claim to make. The question is what sort of explanations he does invoke, not what he could "possibly" invoke.
… and, in fact, is the only outcome because when you get down to it we both think god did it at the end, and start, of all events… You have just switched from God as an immediate explanation of every observation (which is what I am denying) to an ultimate explanation of why everything exists. But you raise an interesting point: if you do believe that, ultimately, God is behind everything, doesn't that mean that science should acknowledge that and take that into account? Why are you, effectively, saying that God is the ultimate cause, but "science" must assume that He's not?
…so there is no strawman at all and you certainly haven't identified one. Excuse me? I did identify one. You are simply denying (without refuting) that the one I identified is actually a strawman. So, yet again with a question you failed to answer, can I call you deceitful?
There is no need to adopt a Christian worldview in order to study the mating habits of bats (for example). According to that link that you said you read and understood, there is. But yet again, you are simply denying rather than refuting.
Stephen Hawking believes in no god and his discovery of Hawking Radiation required no Christian worldview. It didn't? Why didn't it? Again, you are simply asserting, not explaining. The link that you said you read and understood explained why he is using aspects of a Christian worldview, but you are not even attempting to refute that reasoning. To provide one specific aspect, Hawking radiation is "an explanation of how radiation can be emitted from a black hole"[4] But how does Stephen Hawking know that the laws of physics are the same in the vicinity of a black hole as the ones he knows from here on Earth? He doesn't. He works on the premise that they are, but that premise derives from the Christian worldview that all of creation was created by the one, consistent, God, and therefore the laws of physics will be the same there as here. From an atheistic point of view, why should the laws of physics be the same there as here? There is no good reason. But again, as you said you read and understood the link, you would already have understood that. Does you acting as though you don't, mean that you are being deceitful?
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:13, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
I have denied that there was any dishonesty and have explained why it was not dishonest. You have (a) not shown that it was dishonest and (b) not refuted my explanation of why it's not; you've simply repeated the charge of dishonesty. I have denied that there was any strawman and have explained why it was not a strawman. You have (a) not shown that it was strawman and (b) not refuted my explanation of why it isn't; you've simply repeated the charge of strawman.
There is no good reason No there isn't but what does that have to do with adopting a Christian world view. Oh yeah, nothing. Christian worldview that all of creation was created by the one, consistent, God yeah but the atheist doesn't believe that hence does not need to adopt a Christian POV. The atheist believes in the laws of nature being consistent for no good reason but chance. Therefore I am proposing that Christians actually have to adopt the atheist worldview. Works both ways. MaxFletcher 03:51, 4 May 2012 (UTC)

Taking stock, part 2

I have denied that there was any strawman and have explained why it was not a strawman. You have (a) not shown that it was strawman and (b) not refuted my explanation of why it isn't; you've simply repeated the charge of strawman. Are you serious? Or are you just mimicking me in mockery?
No there isn't but what does that have to do with adopting a Christian world view. Oh yeah, nothing. Excuse me? I explained what it has to do with adopting a Christian worldview—it is the Christian worldview that provides justification for believing that the laws of physics apply throughout the universe.
yeah but the atheist doesn't believe that hence does not need to adopt a Christian POV. The point is that by adopting that, he is adopting that aspect of a Christian worldview.
The atheist believes in the laws of nature being consistent for no good reason but chance. "No good reason but chance"? But "chance" is not a good reason. Therefore, your last two words are redundant: the atheist believes in the laws of nature being consistent for no good reason. That is, he has no basis for believing the laws of nature are consistent. So in believing that they are, he is effectively adopting that part of a Christian worldview.
Therefore I am proposing that Christians actually have to adopt the atheist worldview. False, as Christians have their own reason for believing that the laws of nature are consistent. Not only are you handwaving away the logic of the argument, you are also ignoring the experts quoted in the link that say just that, such as Paul Davies I quoted above:

However, even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith that the universe is not absurd, that there is rational basis to physical existence manifested as lawlike order in nature that is at least part comprehensible to us. So science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological world view.

I have linked you to the arguments and quotes, I have repeated some of the quotes and some of the arguments, but you completely fail to address these, apart from now attempting to reverse the argument as though that was an answer.
Works both ways. Sorry, but no, it doesn't. The view that the laws are consistent comes from Christianity, not from atheism. So Christians are not adopting an atheistic view in this case. What you are claiming is that atheists essentially believe in a miracle: that something (consistency) came from nothing (chance is not a causal agent). Invoking "chance" is to say "it just happened". That is a non-explanation.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 09:35, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
The view that the laws are consistent comes from Christianity, not from atheism. The laws are consistent no matter what you believe. If the bible said the sky was blue an atheist doesn't have to use a Christian worldview in order to note that the sky is blue.
And yes, i am serious. I made no strawman argument. You have failed to refute that. MaxFletcher 02:26, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
The laws are consistent no matter what you believe. Prove it. Without doing tests that assume consistent laws in the first place.
If the bible said the sky was blue an atheist doesn't have to use a Christian worldview in order to note that the sky is blue. That is direct observation, not a basic assumption about the universe. So not an appropriate analogy.
And yes, i am serious. I made no strawman argument. You have failed to refute that. On the contrary, I did refute that, in my post of 03:37, 3 May 2012.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 13:15, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
Your blanket "I did refute that" is incorrect. There was no strawman there and your pathetic attempt to prove is just a diversionary tactic to avoid accepting you dishonestly tq'd my sentence to invent a strawman to use against me - there was no strawman and your poor attempt at a refutation is not accepted.
Prove it Hang on, you want me to prove the laws of physics are consistent if you are not a Christian? What the hell? MaxFletcher 21:21, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
Your blanket "I did refute that" is incorrect. There was no strawman there and your pathetic attempt to prove is just a diversionary tactic to avoid accepting you dishonestly tq'd my sentence to invent a strawman to use against me - there was no strawman and your poor attempt at a refutation is not accepted. I disagree entirely with those claims.
Hang on, you want me to prove the laws of physics are consistent if you are not a Christian? No. The issue is not whether or not the laws of physics are consistent. We all agree that they are. The issue is why we believe that. I said "prove it" to get you to realise that you can't prove that the laws of physics are consistent; that is something that we take on faith. But why take it on faith? What reason do we have for believing that the laws of physics are consistent. The Christian believes it because the creation was made by a consistent God. The atheist has no reason for believing it (but does anyway). Everyone agrees that their consistency or otherwise is not dependent on our beliefs, but the question is what reason we have for believing that they are consistent, and that reason is a Christian one.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:33, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
The atheist has no reason for believing it (but does anyway) Umm, no. The reason the atheist believes it it because they haven't seen any different (outside theoretical physics and the possible idea of a "singularity"). Nothing to do with Christianity. And, to be a Young Earth Creationist don't you have to believe that laws may not be consistent? I.e radioactive decay? MaxFletcher 03:44, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
I disagree entirely with those claims. Well I disagree with yours - there was no strawman. MaxFletcher 03:44, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
wrong again Phil. modern science as it is actually practised relies on the evidence that certain pysical things occur consistantly at specific temperatures and presures for which there is ample evidence collected over hundreds of years. The Christian God certainly has not provided a framework for science to exists since he created things ex nihlio, grew a woman from a rib, turned another woman from flesh, bone and blood to salt, not to mention all the miricles and fuging required for the nominal Great Flood.
You are certain to delete this since you are incapable of thinking outside your YEC beliefs so I conclude with a serious question. It is simply this, Why do you dare to lecture anyone on theology since by your own admission you are not qualified to enter a temple or be a full member of the congregation ? do you actually have children after all ? if not why do you defile the teachings of your God when you did not obay his primary command to be fruitful and multiply ?
I am now gone from here, I have far better things to do since my heart surgery. Good thing my Doctors knew more than is in the Bible.... and yes that was a mixture of sarcasm and contempt. have a nice day , may God treat you as you deserve. Hamster 04:07, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Umm, no. The reason the atheist believes it it because they haven't seen any different (outside theoretical physics and the possible idea of a "singularity"). Actually, they haven't seen anything that they interpret as being due to a change in the laws of physics. The Big Bang has a number of problematic aspects, such as insufficient mass to account for various observations, and the horizon problem, but rather than propose that the laws of physics are different, they stick doggedly (but of course correctly) to the view that the laws of physics are consistent throughout the universe. Well, for the most part at least.
And, to be a Young Earth Creationist don't you have to believe that laws may not be consistent? I.e radioactive decay? Radioactive decay is not a law of physics. Creationists propose that the rates have changed, not the laws underlying them. Some change in rates is observed, but nobody proposes that this is due to a change in the laws.
wrong again Phil. modern science as it is actually practised relies on the evidence that certain pysical things occur consistantly at specific temperatures and presures for which there is ample evidence collected over hundreds of years. See my reply above about the Big Bang.
The Christian God certainly has not provided a framework for science to exists since he created things ex nihlio, grew a woman from a rib, turned another woman from flesh, bone and blood to salt, not to mention all the miricles and fuging required for the nominal Great Flood. Yet the historical evidence is that modern science grew from a Christian worldview, despite your denials.
You are certain to delete this since you are incapable of thinking outside your YEC beliefs... When do I delete posts? Normally only if they are from a blocked user. And are you capable of thinking outside your mainstream beliefs? I think not. You're just throwing mud.
Why do you dare to lecture anyone on theology since by your own admission you are not qualified to enter a temple or be a full member of the congregation ? Huh? I think you are putting two and two together and accusing me of thinking the answer is six.
if not why do you defile the teachings of your God when you did not obay his primary command to be fruitful and multiply ? "Defile"? I should say that's none of your business, but the answer is that we have been unable to. Thanks for falsely assuming that it was my preference.
Good thing my Doctors knew more than is in the Bible.... Certainly, as the Bible was never intended as a medical textbook. Good thing that creationists developed science so that you could have science-based medicine.
...may God treat you as you deserve. May God have mercy on you (and me) and not treat us as we deserve.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 07:33, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
How could you change the rate of decay without changing the laws of physics? (By which you mean half-life or decay constant, as it's trivial for the rate to decay if you have a different number of nuclei.) And no temperature effects as (a) it's a tiny effect and (b) I don't think Adam would have appreciated a really hot earth. Sterileevolutionist story telling! 17:35, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
I don't know how it could be done, but that doesn't mean that it can't be done. You mention temperature effects because you know that it can be done in limited amounts. What if someone had proposed that it could be done in limited amounts before the temperature effects were known? Would you have insisted that it couldn't be done without changing the laws of physics? The point is that there are mechanisms that can change the rate either by small amounts or in very limited circumstances, and for all we know there might be other effects that can change them by large amounts in circumstances that could be applied to, say, the Flood. Creationists are proposing that the rates have changed; they are not proposing that the laws have changed. Therefore, they are proposing that the rates have changed due to some as-yet-unknown mechanism. Now you are perfectly entitled to argue that this is unlikely, but you are not entitled to misrepresent creationists as claiming that the laws have changed if they are in fact not claiming that. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 02:34, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
Did creationists once claim (and some still do I believe) that the speed of light may have been faster in the past? That doesn't seem to gel with the consistency you claim creationists support and gifted to modern science. And if decay rates have changed then they are not consistent. MaxFletcher 03:18, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
Good ol' creationist escape hatch: an utterly untestable argument by assertion with no evidence to back it up. Oh, well, this was a fun monthly three edits. (Max: Give up your appeal. It's a waste of everyont's time. Let the wiki lay dormant.) Sterileevolutionist story telling! 04:58, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
Max, yes, some creationists once claimed that, and a very few still do. But that's irrelevant to this discussion, because the consistency being talked about is the consistency of natural laws, not rates. The point of the consistency was that if we discover a particular law, we can be confident that the law will not be different tomorrow, or next year, or on the other side of the country or the galaxy. Your argument completely misses the point. All scientists (as far as I know) believe in constant laws, not constant rates. For example, the growth rate of humans undergoes a spurt in the teens, then flattens out entirely around the end of the teens. Nobody has ever believed in constant rates for everything. Constant laws are the important thing, because there's no point in doing science if the things we discover today are simply not true tomorrow because the laws have changed. We'd have to start all over again every time.
Sterile, you are wrong. The argument is that the decay rates have changed by some unknown mechanism. Yes, the mechanism is unknown, but there is evidence that they have changed. So it is not an argument with no evidence, and therefore not an argument by assertion. As for the "escape hatch" claim, you are citing a piece of tripe on RationalWiki, and the only category that I can see that the argument fits at all is the "Earth was different before the Fall or the Flood" section. But this is part of the tripe. Evolutionists (and everyone, really), often claim that something was different at some point in the past. How did life get started in an oxidising environment? Ah! The atmosphere was different back then—there was no oxygen! Why are there wide, U-shaped valleys in some places? Ah! The temperature was different back then, and there were glaciers that cut the valleys! Why did all the dinosaurs die out suddenly? Ah! Something was different back then (meteor strike, plants that caused constipation for dinosaurs, whatever)! This is a normal part of explaining things. Note that I'm not rejecting the glacier explanation of valleys—the point is that a claim that things were different in the past may in fact be quite reasonable, and may even have good evidence supporting it. So the issue is whether or not the explanation is reasonable, not merely the fact of claiming that things were different. The RW tripe fails to make the distinction, and is therefore indulging in special pleading (making the claim regarding creationism but not other cases), which is ironic given that it asserts that the claim of things being different is a case of special pleading!
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 09:27, 28 May 2012 (UTC)


Creationists propose that the rates have changed, not the laws underlying them. Please excuse my popping back in from time to time, but this caught my attention. I had the opposite impression. Can you cite a source that creationists, as a rule, think this way? Also, what is meant by the statement? Physicists think of the world in terms of laws of nature, constants of nature, and boundary conditions. A change in the speed of light or the decay rate of uranium is meaningless to a physicist. He would ask instead whether the fine structure constant, for example, has varied, or whether the chemical environment of a nucleus might have changed. If creationists are not talking about a change in the actual laws (equations describing nature), are they talking about a change in the dimensionless constants that go into the equations, or only about a change in the conditions? —Awc 13:11, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

I seem to recall your putting up a fuss multiple times when someone didn't anwer your questions. You have failed to answer mine: How could you change the decay constant without changing the laws of physics? And now I have a second: What is your evidence that the decay constants have changed? And a third: What laws of sciences are violated by a reducing atomosphere, glacial erosion, or an asteroid strike? Another law of science is E=cm2 Was it super hot during the flood as 14 billion years worth of nuclei decayed during 40 days? Or is it 2000 years? That's four to five questions. And it's not an explanation, which requires a reason; you have explicitly said you do not have one. Sterileevolutionist story telling! 22:30, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
Awc, I can't think of a statement from creationists that I can cite off the top of my head, and I don't see the need to prove that's the case as long as you haven't shown the opposite. As to whether you have or not, your following comments that I'll address next probably come the closest.
I reject that a change in the speed of light or decay rate is meaningless to a physicist. Sure, he would want to explain such changes in other terms, but that doesn't make those changes "meaningless".
Science is a process where more information is accumulated over time, and it often changes our understanding of how things work. Einsteinian physics, for example, changed our previous understanding which was based on Newtonian physics. But Einsteinian physics didn't amount to a change in the laws of physics, only of our understanding of the laws. Secular scientists have proposed changes in the speed of light and changes in decay rates. You should understand by now that I'm not suggesting that those proposals support creationist views, but in case you or anyone else reading this thinks that's what I'm saying, it's not what I'm saying. The changes were in fairly specific circumstances and were mostly of small magnitudes. The point, though, is that the scientists concerned were not proposing that something had changed the laws of physics; they were proposing that our understanding of those laws was incomplete (which is true almost by definition), and were proposing that what are generally believed to be constants can be changed by some degree in specific circumstances.
Another point that should be made is that it is logically possible to scientifically determine and document that a change has occurred without being able to explain why or how the change occurred.
So creationists are proposing that a change in the decay rates has occurred. How or why that happened may or may not be known, or may be hypothesised but not proven, or... The point is that they are claiming that there is scientific evidence consistent with the decay rates having changed in the past. That they are therefore claiming that God changed the laws of physics does not necessarily follow, and is simply anti-creationist rhetoric to undermine the claim without directly addressing the evidence.
But there's another point, and for that I'll use an analogy of a flowing river. If we measure the rate at which a river is flowing, averaged over a year, say, then we can determine how much water has been delivered downstream over, say, the past century. Now suppose that God caused a landslide that temporarily blocked the river, and thereby changed the rate of flow for a period. How did God do that? Did He physically give the bank a push so that it fell into the river? Did He cause it to rain heavily in a particular spot, knowing (as he knows everything) that a certain amount of rain for a certain period of time would cause the bank there to weaken? Did He cause the trees growing on the bank to catch a disease and die so that their roots no longer helped stabilise the bank? Did He set up a complete sequence of events centuries earlier, knowing that a range of factors (rain, sun, wind-blown seeds, plant disease spread by animals, etc.) would work together over those centuries in such a way that they all came together to cause the bank to collapse into the river at a particular point in time?
When the Israelites had to cross the Jordan to enter the Promised Land, God did cause a landslide upstream so that the Jordan stopped flowing long enough to let them walk across the river. It is perfectly legitimate to say that God intervened to stop the river flowing. But what laws of physics or biology or geology or etc. did He break to cause that to happen? Did He in fact break any laws?
Now God could have broken some laws. I'm not saying that He didn't. He did, after all, make those laws, and has the ability to override them as He sees fit. But the Bible does record that the waters were stopped by a landslide, not by an obvious miracle such as simply making flowing liquid water stop. The point is that it's not a given that He overrode any laws. And the very fact that He used a landslide rather than some more direct approach suggests that He was working within those laws that He created. Of course, He could well have some knowledge of how those laws work that we don't (yet) have, and was able to make use of that knowledge.
So relate this back to decay rates. Creationists are saying that there is scientific evidence that the decay rates have changed. They might further propose that God caused them to change (like He caused the Jordan to stop flowing). It does not follow, though, that this means that He overrode or caused a change in the laws of physics. He might well have worked within those laws, somehow invoking some mechanism that changes decay rates that we have not yet discovered.
The point is that creationists are arguing that there is evidence that decay rates have changed. They are not arguing that God changed the laws of physics. That is simply an anti-creationist charge to avoid the real issue.
Sterile, my objection to not answering questions is when they are clearly avoided or overlooked, such as in answering part of someone's comment but missing (some) questions within it. If they hadn't been posting, or possibly hadn't seen the question, I don't criticise them. I've been posting, but not on this page, and it's just now I've come back here to have a look, given Awc's reference to his user page on another page.
In any case, I did "answer" (address) your question. You asked how it could be done, and my answer was "I don't know". So you've falsely accused me of not answering your question. As for your new question, that is a strawman, because, as I've explained in this post, the claim is that the decay rates have changed, not constants. It is your unexplained conclusion that a change in the rates must amount to a change in constants, not mine.
I never claimed that reducing atmosphere, glacial erosion, or asteroid strikes violates scientific laws. You are misreading me.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 09:14, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
I reject that a change in the speed of light or decay rate is meaningless to a physicist. Maybe that's because you haven't studied physics. One paper put it this way:
The possible time variation of dimensionless fundamental constants of nature, such as the fine-structure constant α, is a legitimate subject of physical enquiry. By contrast, the time variation of dimensional constants, such as ħ, c, G, e, k..., which are merely human constructs whose number and values differ from one choice of units to the next, has no operational meaning.
As an example, if you increase the speed of light "leaving everything else constant", is the fine structure constant one of those things left alone, or does it increase because it equals e²cμ0/(2h), or does it decrease because it equals e²/(4πε0ħc)? If you define a second as the time it takes for a fraction 1.72e-17 of the nuclei in a sample of K-40 to decay, then a change in the decay rate of K-40 is a contradiction of terms. Historically, the second has been variously defined in terms of the rotation of the Earth about its axis, the revolution of the Earth about the Sun, or the period of atomic transitions. If "things change", then there could be simultaneously an increase in the decay rate with one of these definitions, no change with the second, and a decrease with the third. This is basic clear thinking, but nevertheless a level of sophistication that I have never seen creationists reach.
The point is that creationists are arguing that there is evidence that decay rates have changed. They are not arguing that God changed the laws of physics. That is simply an anti-creationist charge to avoid the real issue. Any supernatural intervention is by definition an overriding of the laws of nature. You are arguing that God generally chooses to override those laws in a minimalist way, but there's no difference in the principle. But like you say, it doesn't really make a difference (as long as miracles are seldom enough that the normal order of the laws can still be perceived). What's important is the evidence for or against a significant change in nuclear decay rates in comparison to anything else, and that evidence is clear enough.
—Awc 12:23, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
Maybe that's because you haven't studied physics. Or maybe it's because you're trying to make something more complex that it needs to be.
As an example, if you increase the speed of light… You even refer to the supposedly-meaningless concept in your example.
Any supernatural intervention is by definition an overriding of the laws of nature. A claim that you have not shown, and is counter-intuitive. You can intervene and cause things to happen without overriding the laws of nature. You would do so by operating within the laws of nature. So why can't God?
You are arguing that God generally chooses to override those laws in a minimalist way, but there's no difference in the principle. No, that was not my argument. My argument was that there are multiple ways that God could have intervened, ranging from overriding the laws of physics in a major way (not normal) to not overriding them, and unless and until you can identify which way(s) He did it, you've got no argument.
What's important is the evidence for or against a significant change in nuclear decay rates in comparison to anything else, and that evidence is clear enough. Yep. Especially the bit "the rates of decay must have been at least billions of times higher at some time in the past"!
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:49, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

Apropos taking stock

I'm not sure that I follow what you mean by "engaging" with the evidence. I don't ignore it; I address it. Sure, I often don't see it the way you do; is that all you mean?

What I'm missing is a willingness to admit that the scientific evidence currently available points to an old Earth, etc. That's because I don't believe that it does.

Frankly I don't know exactly what triggered my outburst, but that in itself is an indication that I had better take a few steps back. I considered writing a big tirade, but I will save that for another day and just deliver the small tirade here.

Nearly a year ago (see the long thread User_talk:Philip_J._Rayment/Archive_12#Taking stock, especially the beginning and the end) I summarized the scientific evidence for an old Earth. Philip essentially said that he believed that the total evidence favored his own worldview, but that that evidence was not presented in his encyclopedia. The fact that he still has not gone to the trouble of presenting the "real" evidence is what I mean by not engaging with the evidence. What if he's right, and I'm wrong? How can I discover the error of my ways if he keeps his evidence secret? What if he's wrong? How I can change his mind if he doesn't tell me why he thinks the way he does?

Oh, just forget it. End of the short tirade.

—Awc 21:07, 29 April 2012 (UTC)

…he still has not gone to the trouble of presenting the "real" evidence… This makes it sound like I've presented none at all. On the contrary, I have presented a fair bit. Of course there is almost an infinite amount of supporting evidence, so I can never hope to present it all, but I have presented some. What you really mean is that I haven't (yet) addressed every bit of evidence that you have presented. That is true, but it's not a case of "not having gone to the trouble" so much as "have not yet got around to it". As for changing your mind, this site is of course not the only source of information on this topic. Atheist Antony Flew stopped being an atheist because he was convinced of the evidence for design, yet he never looked at this site! Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 01:55, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
What you really mean is that I haven't (yet) addressed every bit of evidence that you have presented. What I really mean is that you have addressed essentially none of the core issues. You are not so out of touch with reality, are you, that you would claim that any substantial subset of the evidence from physics, astronomy, and geology as it is currently presented in aSK would lead to the conclusion that the Earth is about 6,000 years old? —Awc 15:18, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Of course he's that out of touch. You already know how this conversation is going to turn out. You will get nothing satisfying by bringing yourself back to this meta-discussion. Teh Terrible Asp 15:35, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
What I really mean is that you have addressed essentially none of the core issues. Pardon? What do you believe are the core issues? I believe that the core issues are the presuppositions that we start with, and for science, they are Christian ones. I have discussed that quite a bit. Do you have different issues that you believe are core issues? What makes them "core" issues?
User:Awc/The_Gretchen_Question — The crucial question for creationists is the age of creation. —Awc 06:52, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
You are not so out of touch with reality, are you, that you would claim that any substantial subset of the evidence from physics, astronomy, and geology as it is currently presented in aSK would lead to the conclusion that the Earth is about 6,000 years old? That's a loaded question; it presumes something that I don't believe. That is, it presumes that you can use physics, astronomy, and geology to determine the age of the Earth to be about 6,000 years. I don't believe that, at least to any real extent. Rather, I believe that the most reliable source of information we have—eyewitness testimony from an infallible eyewitness—can be used to determine that the Earth is about 6,000 years old, and that nothing in physics, astronomy, and geology contradicts that in a substantive way.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 00:37, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
God is fallible. Prove me wrong. Biblesaysso isn't evidence. Sterileevolutionist story telling! 01:20, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
I don't have to prove you wrong. You have to prove you're right, as you are making the claim that God is fallible. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 02:00, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
"[E]yewitness testimony from an infallible eyewitness" is also a claim. Sterileevolutionist story telling! 06:39, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
If ...
  • the choice were between a world thousands of years old and a world billions of years old,
  • you had no presuppositions about which choice is true,
  • you limited yourself to scientific reasoning, and
  • your only source of evidence was articles in aSK concerning physics, astronomy, and geology, in their present forms,
... what would be your scientific, and therefore tentative, conclusion? —Awc 07:58, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
User:Awc/The_Gretchen_Question — The crucial question for creationists is the age of creation. Hmmm, I don't recall seeing that essay before. I would agree that the age of the Earth is an important question, but I disagree that it's the crucial question. Creationists have often said that the most important thing is whether we are going to believe what the Bible says.
Some of your reasoning is fallacious. In particular, your claim that "If the Earth is thousands rather than billions of years old, then the entire edifice of science crumbles.". Given that (a) science was founded by people who believed the Earth to be only thousands of years old, and (b) most of science does not depend in the slightest on the age of the Earth, the claim is patent nonsense.
Your claim that billions of years is "a figure over which there is no longer any dissent in the professional literature" is also patently false, unless for "professional literature" you use a self-serving definition that excludes the journals that are prepared to accept a figure of thousands of years.
Importantly, your question "What could be easier than distinguishing between two hypotheses that differ by a factor of a million?" is a loaded question, as it implies that the ease of distinguishing between two hypotheses is entirely dependent on the difference between the two, and fails to acknowledge that you still actually need an objective way of making that distinction. If two people said that the population of intelligent beings on planets around Alpha Centauri were respectively one million and 600 billion, the two differ by a factor of more than a million, so by your reasoning it should be easy to tell which one is closer to the truth. But that ignores that we have absolutely no way of telling.
So you've answered my questions about what you think is the crucial question and why, thanks, but I don't believe that your answer is the correct one.
"[E]yewitness testimony from an infallible eyewitness" is also a claim. True. And if you want me to justify my claim, you have a right to ask me to. But you didn't do that. You asked me to refute your claim.
what would be your scientific, and therefore tentative, conclusion? I believe I have answered this question before, but it is not the one that we are discussing now, which is not limited to the current state of evidence as presented here, and is not limited to scientific evidence. I've also been making a point about presuppositions, not that you are improperly basing your views on presuppositions, but that you are inevitably basing your views on presuppositions without acknowledging that. These are not presuppositions about which answer is correct, but about how the answer is derived, such as whether the answer can only rely on "scientific" reasoning, which in fact it is more a question of history than empirical science.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 13:44, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
I said you do not engage with the evidence, and you asked me what I meant by that. That's why it doesn't matter what you think the crucial question is, and whether you think it should be expanded to include evidence not presented here or non-scientific evidence. You do not engage with the scientific evidence, presented here, concerning the age of the world. Until you do that, I am not interested in discussing all the other questions.
If you answer my question, I could be a bit more precise in exactly what way you are avoiding the evidence. You haven't been as clear as you think you have. Why don't you just answer the question to avoid any misunderstanding? I believe your answer is "billions of years", but I am really not at all sure.
—Awc 19:46, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Okay, so what you are saying is that I have not engaged with a particular set of evidence that you consider to be crucial. Given that I've not yet engaged with all the evidence you've presented, I'm tempted to plead guilty. On the other hand, given that I have engaged with at least some of it, I think my earlier comment (paraphrased: This makes it sound like I've addressed none at all. On the contrary, I have addressed a fair bit.) stands. I've discussed radiometric dating and rock layers at some length.
You do not engage with the scientific evidence, presented here, concerning the age of the world. Until you do that, I am not interested in discussing all the other questions. Sorry, but the problem here is that I don't agree that the starting point should be the (supposed) scientific evidence. I believe that the starting point should be the philosophy of science (e.g. just what can science address). In discussing anything, we need to have some common ground to build on. One of the first things is that we need to speak in a common language. Fortunately, we both speak English. But another pre-requisite is that we agree on just what science can address and what it can't. I have long maintained that what we are talking about is more history than science. The best source of information for history is eye-witness testimony. But you won't agree to that; you seem to believe that science is the best source of information about the past, so want to confine yourself to that. I have been and am still happy to discuss that, but I'm not agreeing that it can be discussed in isolation from other, better, sources of information. This again gets back to presuppositions. I approach this as a Christian, believing that revelation (infallible eye-witness testimony) is the best source of information. You approach this as an atheist (whether you are one or not), believing that science is the best source of information. I have a high regard for science insofar as it can be used to empirically study the world we live in. I don't have so high a regard when it deigns to speak on the untestable past (e.g. evolution) or the untestable future (e.g. climate change models). So we are both approaching this subject with different presuppositions, which you (typically of evolutionists) fail to acknowledge.
Why don't you just answer the question [what would be your scientific, and therefore tentative, conclusion?] to avoid any misunderstanding? I believe your answer is "billions of years", but I am really not at all sure. The reason I don't answer the question is that to do so I would have to study the evidence (presented here) at some length, being careful to exclude from my thinking everything else I know about the topic, and trying to be objective about things that are not completely objective anyway, and this would take a fair bit of time. I don't think it's worth the effort.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 04:00, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

Thank you for that telling answer. It speaks volumes and is worth repeating:

The reason I don't answer the question is that to do so I would have to study the evidence (presented here) at some length, being careful to exclude from my thinking everything else I know about the topic, and trying to be objective about things that are not completely objective anyway, and this would take a fair bit of time. I don't think it's worth the effort.
  • The reason I don't answer the question Compare and contrast: I believe I have answered this question before
  • I would have to study the evidence (presented here) at some length Why, yes. You would have to engage with the evidence.
  • being careful to exclude from my thinking everything else I know about the topic Yes, indeed. Without foregone conclusions. It is important in science to be aware of the assumptions on which your conclusions are based. It is a common exercise to ask what conclusions could be drawn if only part of the evidence were available. It is a way to check how robust a conclusion is. It requires some intellectual discipline, but is not too much to ask of anyone evaluating scientific evidence. Oh, I almost forgot to mention it because it is so fundamental: extraneous evidence like religious revelation must always be put aside when doing science, no matter how important it may be in other aspects of life.
  • trying to be objective about things that are not completely objective anyway No person and no evidence is perfect, but scientists and other rational thinkers at least try to be objective.
  • this would take a fair bit of time. Compare and contrast: I've been studying this stuff for well over three decades
  • I don't think it's worth the effort. Now I know why you do not engage with the evidence. It is because you don't want to.

It is now abundantly clear what I mean by "engaging the evidence", and that you, in fact, choose not to do so. That's fine. But any claims along the lines of

  • "The scientific evidence fits the creationary paradigm better than it fits the evolutionary paradigm."

or

  • "A good reason to believe in the infallibility of the Bible is that it is vindicated by physics, astronomy, and geology."

are totally vacuous. —Awc 13:53, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

Compare and contrast: I believe I have answered this question before Yes. So? Clearly, when I say The reason I don't answer the question I'm talking about why I'm not answering it again, or this time.
I'm sorry, I misunderstood. To recapitulate:
  • The reason you don't answer the question this time is that to do so you would have to study the evidence, this would take a fair bit of time, and you don't think it's worth the effort.
  • When you answered the question the other time, you did so without first studying the evidence.
—Awc 09:51, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
Why, yes. You would have to engage with the evidence. I would have to "engage", if you want to use that word, with it again.
When did you answer this question before? I have never seen an answer from you on this question. Would you mind repeating it? —Awc 09:51, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
Yes, indeed. Without foregone conclusions. That is not what I was talking about. I was talking about other evidence.
It is important in science to be aware of the assumptions on which your conclusions are based. A point I've made repeatedly.
It is a common exercise to ask what conclusions could be drawn if only part of the evidence were available. Yeah? So? Common for whom? People with limited time? People getting paid to spend the time?
Oh, I almost forgot to mention it because it is so fundamental: extraneous evidence like religious revelation must always be put aside when doing science, no matter how important it may be in other aspects of life. This completely misses a major point that I've been making, and is therefore begging the question. Is this science?
What do you mean by "religious" revelation? Such phrasing is in line with atheists who seem to think that labelling something "religious" automatically means that it need not be considered. What we are talking about here by revelation is eye-witness testimony by an infallible God. Why would that be put to one side? When I mentioned to you that there were radiometric dates of rocks that were incorrect because it was known when the rock formed (e.g. here), you dismissed them as an insignificant number of exceptions. You did not dispute that the ages were known. That is, you did not argue "the radiometric dates would be correct, so the claim that they were observed to form x years ago must be wrong". Rather, you accepted that the eye-witness testimony of when the rocks formed, and allowed that to take precedence over the "scientific" date.
So why not the same here? Why doesn't revelation trump the supposed science? You can, of course, dispute the accuracy of the revelation/testimony. But that's not what you are doing. You are saying that the science trumps the revelation in principle; even if the testimony is correct.
Going back to the begged question, what we are talking about here is history, about what actually occurred and when. We are not doing science; we are using science to do history. Science is often a useful tool to do history, but also often the best source of history is testimony.
That raises 10 new subjects. I may address them some rainy day when I'm bored. Here and now, the question I posed was deliberately limited to scientific evidence to the exclusion of revelation, and my assessment that you are not engaging with the evidence only referred to the scientific evidence, as it is usually understood. —Awc 09:51, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
No person and no evidence is perfect, but scientists and other rational thinkers at least try to be objective. In their minds, at least. But when supposed rational thinkers a priori exclude an explanation simply because it involves God, they can't be said to be trying very hard. As for me, I wasn't suggesting that one can't try. I was merely saying that it makes it hard, and so answering the question is not easy.
Now I know why you do not engage with the evidence. It is because you don't want to. That does not follow from what I said.
is it correct anyway? Or are you saying you want to engage with the evidence but you can't for some reason? —Awc 09:51, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
It is now abundantly clear what I mean by "engaging the evidence", and that you, in fact, choose not to do so. I have "engaged with the evidence" in other ways.
But any claims along the lines of … are totally vacuous. No they are not, because those claims can be made independently of the particular subset of evidence that we are talking about here.
"The particular subset of evidence that we are talking about here" is the scientific evidence, in particular that from physics, astronomy, and geology. You think the claim, "The scientific evidence fits the creationary paradigm better than it fits the evolutionary paradigm.", can be made without consideration of the scientific evidence, and the claim, "A good reason to believe in the infallibility of the Bible is that it is vindicated by physics, astronomy, and geology.", can be made without consideration of physics, astronomy, and geology. That fits my definition of vacuous.
Or perhaps you are referring to the subset of the scientific evidence that is presented here, even though you have called it (User_talk:Philip_J._Rayment/Archive_12#Moar_continuating) a "reasonable selection". If you want to take the tack that you know of evidence that is not presented here, or at least believe that such evidence exists, that's fine. That's just another form of not engaging with the evidence on this site.
—Awc 09:51, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 04:37, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
The reason you don't answer the question this time is that to do so you would have to study the evidence, this would take a fair bit of time, and you don't think it's worth the effort. ... When you answered the question the other time, you did so without first studying the evidence. When I answered it before, I was keeping up with most if not all the evidence as you were presenting it. This time, I didn't think it worth the effort to go over all that evidence again.
When did you answer this question before? I have never seen an answer from you on this question. Would you mind repeating it? One of us is confused. I thought we were talking about your question of which view the evidence favours. You said at the start of this section that Nearly a year ago … I summarized the scientific evidence for an old Earth. Philip essentially said that he believed that the total evidence favored his own worldview (my bolding). Isn't that the question that you are now saying you've not seen an answer to?
Here and now, the question I posed was deliberately limited to scientific evidence to the exclusion of revelation, and my assessment that you are not engaging with the evidence only referred to the scientific evidence, as it is usually understood. Yes, you wanted the question limited to the "scientific" evidence. I rejected that restriction.
is it correct anyway? Or are you saying you want to engage with the evidence but you can't for some reason? I'm saying that I'd like to, but that I don't think it would be a good use of my time.
You think the claim, "The scientific evidence fits the creationary paradigm better than it fits the evolutionary paradigm.", can be made without consideration of the scientific evidence… No, I don't think that. But I do think that consideration should be made of extra-scientific aspects, such as what is meant by "scientific" and what assumption one brings to the evidence.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 13:30, 22 May 2012 (UTC)


You said at the start of this section that Nearly a year ago … I summarized the scientific evidence for an old Earth. Philip essentially said that he believed that the total evidence favored his own worldview (my bolding). Isn't that the question that you are now saying you've not seen an answer to?

Thank you for clearing that up. In that thread I posed the question several times and often got answers like Unfair question, or Possibly; I haven't tried summing it. When I used the expression "total evidence" at the beginning of this section, I was thinking of your statement, I haven't tried summing the evidence "as it is currently presented [much by you] in aSK", but overall (i.e. not just evidence as presented on aSK), "the evidence fits better with a global flood than the secular view". That is, I was under the impression that you thought or suspected that the evidence presented on this site favored an old Earth, but that consideration of scientific evidence not presented here would favor a young Earth. Since you have just said that my summary there applies to my question here, I now know that I was mistaken.

To be 100% clear, to the question posed above, namely

If ...
  • the choice were between a world thousands of years old and a world billions of years old,
  • you had no presuppositions about which choice is true,
  • you limited yourself to scientific reasoning, and
  • your only source of evidence was articles in aSK concerning physics, astronomy, and geology, in their present forms [or perhaps the forms of those articles as of spring 2011],
... what would be your scientific, and therefore tentative, conclusion?

your answer is "thousands of years". —Awc 08:18, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

Rainy day

Philip was bothered by my statement that "religious revelation must always be put aside when doing science". I didn't mean to single out revelation that was religious. The statement applies to any source of revelation or authority. The fundamental laws of nature might one day be revealed to us by aliens, or the goddess Namagiri might reveal mathematical theorems to Ramanujan in his dreams, or Fermat might leave us volumes of marginal notes on mathematical theorems he had proven to himself. In all such cases, as soon as we assume the truth of these revelations, no matter how sure we are that they really are true, we have stopped doing science. It's like turning the newspaper upside down to read the answer to the crossword puzzle. You get the right answer that way, but you have stopped playing the game.

One of the insights I have to thank Philip for is that many of the natural sciences are to a large extent "historical sciences", including cosmology, astronomy, geology, paleontology, archaeology, philology, and history proper. The ways in which these fields are similar and different from each other and from more purely experimental sciences is a fascinating question of epistemology and the philosophy of science for which a sizable literature exists. Most people, including me, see no problem with calling investigations of the age of the world science, but if Philip prefers to call it "using science to do history", that's OK, too. Terminology aside, what he seems to be getting at is the question of whether "scientific evidence" or "testimonial evidence" is more powerful.

I wouldn't give or accept a blanket answer to that question. There are plenty of examples where the one is more reliable and plenty of other examples where the other is more reliable. Philip works on the presumption that the Bible is "eye-witness testimony by an infallible God". As I said above, even if this were true, it would be inadmissible as scientific evidence. I think Philip's point is that he is interested not in the narrow question of what is scientifically probable, but in the bigger question of what is really true. Aren't we all.

Philip wrote You can, of course, dispute the accuracy of the revelation/testimony. But that's not what you are doing. You are saying that the science trumps the revelation in principle; even if the testimony is correct. My position is quite the opposite. I have never said or believed that "science trumps revelation in principle". Rather I am asking, How can we determine whether testimony is reliable? For human testimony there are many factors to consider: plausibility, corroborative physical evidence, internal consistency, consistency with independent testimony, reputation of the witness, training of the witness, conflicts of interest. The list is endless.

I have been concentrating on the scientific question, not only because it is one way to answer the question of the age of the world, but also because it has a bearing on the reliability of the Bible as testimony. Since the scientific evidence strongly favors an old Earth, it is highly unlikely that the Bible is reliable in matters of natural history. It should be clear that this, rather than a crusade for the purity of the game of science, was the reason it was necessary to keep revelation out of the analysis. That is the only way that the scientific conclusion can be used to test the plausibility of the scriptural revelation without circular reasoning.

Now, between the narrow scientific question I have been asking, and Philip's presupposition that the Bible is infallible revelation, there may be many other lines of evidence. They will have to be strong to overcome the evidence of the physical sciences, but let's just set that question aside for now and ask,
Leaving the physical sciences and subjective experience aside, what evidence is there that the Bible is decisively more reliable than other books?

The floor is open.

—Awc 14:02, 7 May 2012 (UTC)

In all such cases, as soon as we assume the truth of these revelations, no matter how sure we are that they really are true, we have stopped doing science. Not always. See my next point.
It's like turning the newspaper upside down to read the answer to the crossword puzzle. You get the right answer that way, but you have stopped playing the game. What I'm talking about is not turning the paper upside down to read the answer, but reading the rules. Before you can follow the rules of doing a crossword, you have to know the rules to follow. But there's not just the rules. You also have to know how to read the rules. Suppose one of the rules is "Write one letter in each white square…". First, you have to know English (assuming an English crossword). You also have to know what a "square" is in the context of the crossword. Science also has "rules", and underlying assumptions. One of the assumptions is that the physical laws are consistent. Where do we get that idea from? Not everyone has always believed in consistent laws, but we got that idea from revelation. That is one of the reasons that modern science was born from a Christian worldview. So if you are going to reject Divine revelation, then you might as well not do science.
You get the right answer that way, but you have stopped playing the game. Of course, reading the answers to a crossword is cheating. But with science, the goal isn't (or shouldn't be) to play a game with arbitrary rules (such as find an explanation that doesn't involve God). Rather, the goal is to find the right answer. So if finding the right answer is the goal, and accepting revelation is equivalent to reading the answers, then what's wrong with accepting revelation? This reminds me of a form 5 maths test I did. I had to find the answer to a calculation, and to do it by using a slide rule. In the classroom situation, this was appropriate, as it was my skill at using a slide rule that was being tested. But in the real world, it wouldn't matter how I got the answer, as long as it was the correct one. The goal of science is not to play a game; the goal of science is to find the correct answer.
As I said above, even if this were true, it would be inadmissible as scientific evidence. True, but as I've explained, the goal is to find the right answer, not to find an answer that fits arbitrary rules.
I think Philip's point is that he is interested not in the narrow question of what is scientifically probable… Correct. I'm not interested in playing the "science game". I'm interested in finding what is true. Science can help with that, in many cases. But the method of determining the answer is secondary to the answer itself.
My position is quite the opposite. I have never said or believed that "science trumps revelation in principle". You said extraneous evidence like religious revelation must always be put aside when doing science, no matter how important it may be in other aspects of life. That amounts to saying that "science trumps revelation in principle", unless, of course, you are confining that to playing the "science game".
I have been concentrating on the scientific question, not only because it is one way to answer the question of the age of the world, but also because it has a bearing on the reliability of the Bible as testimony. In principle, it makes no sense to use science to judge the veracity of the Bible when the philosophical basis for science comes from the Bible. However, this should mean that science will not be in conflict with the Bible, any more than tissue taken from one part of a person's body would be rejected when implanted in another part of the same body. One came from the other, so will be consistent with it.
Since the scientific evidence strongly favors an old Earth, it is highly unlikely that the Bible is reliable in matters of natural history. I reject that the evidence does strongly favour an old Earth. Most possible dating methods give a date too young for the secular age. The ones that are used are some of the relatively few that give the desired age.
what evidence is there that the Bible is decisively more reliable than other books? That would take more space and time to do properly than is appropriate here, but to just mention reasons, the number of manuscripts, the closeness of the manuscripts to the original (applies more to the New Testament), the method of copying them that used methods akin to checksums (Old Testament), the consistency of the message and the lack of contradiction despite being written by numerous authors over many hundreds of years, the correspondence with archaeological finds, fulfilled prophecy, etc.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:39, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
  • I'm tempted to say a number of things about Philip's ideas concerning Christianity and science, but I'd better just let it slide. Some of the things he says seem to contradict others, but I'll just hold fast to this one: To my statement, "even if this [that the Bible is "eye-witness testimony by an infallible God"] were true, it would be inadmissible as scientific evidence", Philip responded True.
  • I reject that the evidence does strongly favour an old Earth. Most possible dating methods give a date too young for the secular age. The ones that are used are some of the relatively few that give the desired age. Not only that, you said above you believe that the evidence for this view is contained in "articles in aSK concerning physics, astronomy, and geology, in their present forms". I thought I was familiar with all the science related articles in aSK, but I can't imagine which ones you are referring to. Please point me to some of these many articles documenting dating results incompatible with an old Earth.
  • Of course the meat here is Philip's brief outline of reasons to believe that "the Bible is decisively more reliable than other books". I have no reason to believe that Philip is any more willing to engage with this evidence than he was willing to engage with the scientific evidence, but where might it lead if he did? His list touches touch four points:
  • the number of manuscripts, the closeness of the manuscripts to the original ..., the method of copying — These are indications that new errors may not have crept into the Bible as fast as into some other works, but they don't address the question of whether the original manuscripts were unusually reliable. We wouldn't want to say, would we, that all books written in the last two hundred years are highly reliable because we can be sure that we have the text as it was originally written. For the books of the Old Testament, there were enough centuries from the original writing to the oldest manuscripts or to the introduction of special copying techniques that many errors might have been introduced anyway. This is an interesting peripheral issue, but misses the target.
  • lack of contradiction — Would you expect a pious man, who grew up in a culture steeped in a particular religious literature, who saw himself as the continuation of that religious tradition, and who had intensely studied that literature, would you expect that man to write anything that contradicted the previous writings? Would you expect an official religious body, made up of similarly pious men, charged with the task of defining a canon, to include any work that contradicted the others? And yet most readers of the Bible, whether men on the street or scholars, if they have not decided beforehand that the Bible is inerrant, find that it is full of contradictions. (Alleged_problems_in_the_Bible#Internal_consistency) In the same way, most readers of the Bible see one or more dramatic changes in the message over time. I have often heard people say they did not believe in "the God of the Old Testament", indicating that in their eyes God is portraited very differently in the Old and the New Testaments. That is not to say that it is impossible or even necessarily hard to find a reading of the Bible that is consistent, but the Bible is not a book that can impress us with an unusual degree of consistency.
  • archaeological finds — It is not surprising when a book written hundreds or thousands of years ago contains observations about that era that are true, nor should it be surprising if some of this observations have only recently been verified by archaeology. For that reason, the archaeological "hits" in the Bible don't carry much weight. On the other hand, there are many observations recorded in the Bible that, according to the best of our current knowledge, are false. (Alleged_problems_in_the_Bible#Archaeology) Again, that is not to say that they will not later be proven true, but if the question is whether or not, on the basis of our present knowledge of archaeology, we should believe this particular book to be exceptionally reliable, the answer would have to be no.
  • fulfilled prophecy — This question is too big to summarize in a few sentences. Maybe someday we will tackle it.
I'd say it is clear that the reasons Philip mentions that the Bible is decisively more reliable than other books are all at best weak, and some of them provide evidence against the thesis. Certainly they can't come close to challenging the scientific evidence for an old Earth. Furthermore, this conclusion is adequately documented in the articles in this encyclopedia. The only potential exception is fulfilled prophecy. (I guess I already knew that. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't overlooking anything.)
—Awc 13:23, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps some of my seemingly-"contradictory" comments are due to being made in subtly different contexts and therefore were not always intended to answer exactly the same question. I think that this could well apply to whether or not I was talking about evidence on aSK, external evidence, just scientific evidence, or scientific and non-scientific evidence. It might also be that you had a particular context in mind that I didn't realise (see the end of my next point). P.S. I also think this sort of disconnect of context is responsible for you claiming I agreed to something I didn't, as I explain in a following section, #Comment on user page.
Not only that, you said above you believe that the evidence for this view is contained in "articles in aSK concerning physics, astronomy, and geology, in their present forms". I'm not sure where you got that quote from. I'm not denying that I said it, but it wasn't in the context of my comment that you are here replying to. To expand a little, I've seen a list of over 100 different possible dating methods, not all being radiometric ones, that could, in theory, be used to date various things. Some of these are ones that measure the rate at which various substances enter and leave the ocean and how much is in the oceans, and therefore how old the oceans might be. Things such as sediment and salt. From memory, one of these 100+ methods gives an age of about 100 years! Clearly, many of these methods are not reliable methods, because there are factors that we are unaware of that haven't been taken into account. Some given an age in the range of a few thousand years. My point above was that the methods that are used are ones that give the desired mainstream age. But no, I don't think this particular bit of information is (yet) on aSK. It was in response to your comment that Since the scientific evidence strongly favors an old Earth..., which comment I took to mean scientific evidence in general, not scientific evidence as presented on aSK. Perhaps you meant the latter?
The quoted language is mine, but I understood that you were endorsing it. I made that claim as clearly as I possibly could in this comment, and I expected you to object if it was not accurate. You didn't respond to that comment, but your statements here seem to contradict that summary of mine. Do you think you can state your position unambiguously, once and for all?
Your position on radioactive dating has also never been entirely clear. Here you state, My point above was that the methods that are used are ones that give the desired mainstream age. Which methods are you referring to here? I assume at least radioactive dating of igneous rocks, and perhaps a few more. Is it fair to say that you agree that the application of radioactive dating to igneous rocks gives billions of years for the age of the Earth?
—Awc 14:46, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
These are indications that new errors may not have crept into the Bible as fast as into some other works, but they don't address the question of whether the original manuscripts were unusually reliable. True, but the accuracy of transmission is a factor to consider when considering reliability, and in particular when considering the reliability of the Bible compared to other books, it's relevant. It was not meant as an answer to every objection to reliability. This is an interesting peripheral issue, but misses the target. No, it takes care of part of the target.
For the books of the Old Testament, there were enough centuries from the original writing to the oldest manuscripts or to the introduction of special copying techniques that many errors might have been introduced anyway. The copying techniques are not claimed to eliminate absolutely every error, so you are correct, even if the copying techniques were introduced very early. But the Dead Sea Scrolls put the date of the oldest extant manuscript back by quite a long time, yet clearly demonstrated the lack of change over that time.
Would you expect a pious man, who grew up in a culture steeped in a particular religious literature, who saw himself as the continuation of that religious tradition, and who had intensely studied that literature, would you expect that man to write anything that contradicted the previous writings? Yes. People are fallible, and I would expect any non-genuine claims to be caught out somewhere.
Would you expect an official religious body, made up of similarly pious men, charged with the task of defining a canon, to include any work that contradicted the others? The "official religious body" that "defined the canon" actually only affirmed what was already generally accepted as the canon. In any case, if you don't expect that they would, how do you explain that most readers of the Bible…find that it is full of contradictions? Did they do that lousy a job? Or do most readers not find that it is full of contradictions? You can hardly have it both ways.
And yet most readers of the Bible, whether men on the street or scholars, if they have not decided beforehand that the Bible is inerrant, find that it is full of contradictions. I would claim the opposite: Most readers of the Bible, whether men on the street or sholars, if they have not decided beforehand that the Bible is full of contradictions, don't see any contradictions. At least not many, and none that are really contradictions.
I have often heard people say they did not believe in "the God of the Old Testament", indicating that in their eyes God is portraited very differently in the Old and the New Testaments. I've heard that too, but mostly from Christians who have in other ways compromised their biblical views with secular views. I have never personally seen a distinction between the "God of the Old Testament" and the "God of the New Testament". That's not to say that there are not differences, but that it is not a different God.
…the Bible is not a book that can impress us with an unusual degree of consistency. You seem to be basing this on a superficial reading, what you believe a casual reader would see. I don't see that as a sufficiently adequate way to judge the matter.
It is not surprising when a book written hundreds or thousands of years ago contains observations about that era that are true, nor should it be surprising if some of this observations have only recently been verified by archaeology. For that reason, the archaeological "hits" in the Bible don't carry much weight. I understand your point, but believe that you are understating the significance. It would depend on how many correct observations there were, their nature, and their relationship to the events described. I would agree with you if there were only a few general historical accuracies, but in the case of the Bible there are a great number of quite specific historical accuracies, including ones directly related to the events described. Further, if others can use an argument that archaeology shows that the Bible is faulty, then showing that it is not faulty because the archaeology was mistaken surely must carry weight and give the Bible credibility.
On the other hand, there are many observations recorded in the Bible that, according to the best of our current knowledge, are false. (Alleged_problems_in_the_Bible#Archaeology) I must admit that this is a bit of a difficult area, as there seems to be outright contradictions in the claims made by archaeologists. See, for example, the quotes at Bible#Archaeological evidence and Luke#Luke as historian. However, the truth or otherwise of the Bible is, in a very real sense, never going to be an objective issue for many people who don't believe it, as believing it means accepting that they are answerable to God rather than themselves. This applies to the most educated person as much as the least. Some of those archaeologists who have praised the historical accuracy of the Bible so highly started of being quite sceptical of it, until the evidence forced them to believe it. So how many of the critics are being totally objective?
But there's another aspect, relating to the Alleged problems article (which I've yet to edit since you edited it). It includes two examples of places that allegedly don't fit the biblical account. However, other archaeologists would dispute both these cases. Compare that to a former claim where the Bible was thought to be wrong, the existence of the Hittites. Evidence was found showing that the Hittites did exist, showing that the Bible was correct after all. But, unlike the cases of Jericho and Ai, who disputes the Hittite evidence? My point is that evidence supporting the Bible generally seems to be clear, whereas evidence supposedly contradicting it is not clear.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 10:21, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
You (Awc) asked, in the middle of my post above, to explain my position on radiometric dating once and for all. I doubt that I can do that, as whatever I say, there will probably have some aspect that you think still needs clarification. But I'll try (although you might be sorry you asked!).
The principle: The principle involved with dating things from the past—apart from when we have eyewitness testimony of some sort—involves finding a process that has been going on since the item formed, measuring the rate at which that process changes, measure how much change has occurred, and use those figures to calculate how long it has been occurring. That principle is sound if several assumptions are true. Those assumptions include that the process has been operating continuously, that the change has been occurring at a steady (or calculatable) rate, that the system has been isolated so that no relevant material has entered or left the system, and that the starting state is known. There is of course also another group of assumptions, such as being able to avoid contamination, that the measuring equipment is working properly, that relevant samples can be collected, etc.
Radiometric is one way: In principle, the process being used to derive a date need not be radiometric decay. It could be a non-radioactive substance entering or leaving the item or system in question. The advantage that radioactive processes appear to have is that they can be measured with great precision and the actual decay rate appears to occur with great consistency. Other processes are generally more open to variation. But not necessarily unlimited variation. What this means is that their error bars are generally much larger, but it doesn't mean that their error bars are infinite.
Potential methods: There are hundreds of potential ways of dating something (although usually only a subset are usable for dating a particular item, such as carbon dating only being usable on once-living things). These ways give widely different results (see next paragraph). Why don't they all agree? Presumably, because one or more of the assumptions listed above are incorrect in particular cases. So how are the correct ones determined? To some extent, it's by figuring which ones are more likely to be correct; which ones have fewer assumptions involved. To some extent it might be by seeing if there is a cluster of different methods that give the same result—and only one such cluster giving one such result. And to some extent it might be by seeing which ones give results consistent with what is already believed about the age of things.
Confirmation bias: Somewhere years ago I saw a list of what what ages for the Earth different dating methods gave. They ranged from "too small to measure" to 110 years to billions of years. Clearly some of the measures (such as the 110 years one) were unreliable. Mainstream scientists would also dismiss any that gave the age of the Earth in thousands of years as unreliable. But ones that gave a figure around the four billion year mark would be considered at least potentially reliable. Clearly there would be some confirmation bias in play.
One method for dating the oceans is by measuring the amount of salt in them, and also measuring the net influx of salt over time. The measurements and calculations have been done, and although the error bars would obviously be much larger than for radiometric dates, the result that was the most favourable to mainstream dates was (from memory) about 62 million years—far too low for mainstream views of the age.
A number of radiometric dates do give dates consistent with the mainstream age, and it is these that are generally used.
Manipulation of dates: However, and to answer part of your question, although these methods do naturally come out with ages in that ball park, that doesn't mean that they cannot be manipulated to give other ages, or at least to be questioned enough to be discarded. Now I'm not saying that you can arbitrarily get any date you want with equal ease—there are likely limits to how much a date can be realistically manipulated. But you can always find some reason to discard a particular date and go with a different method that gives a different result, if you really want to. (And that might be to discard, say, the ocean salt date, and go with a "suitable" radiometric date. Of course if a creationist has used the method, it is axiomatically suspect.)
Summary: So, in summary, dating methods don't give random dates. But neither do they give dates that are all that certain, and mainstream scientists question them when it suits them, so why shouldn't creationists also question them?
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 13:51, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
tell me you did not invoke ocean salinity as young earth evidence ? Yup, ot sems to be so. You left out quite a lot though. Changes in arrangment of tectonic plates, uplift of land , temperature of ocean waters, temperature of ocean surfaces, tidal pools, amount of chlorine, other methods of removal of sodium from ocean waters (neteorites) . You can get a vast range of dates from discussing this but a useable age is very unlikely. Hamster 18:44, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
so why shouldn't creationists also question them? feel free. Oh, by a proper paper in a scientific journal like any scientist is expected to do, with evidence and reasoning stated. Hamster 18:54, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
Nothing you say here is wrong, although the coherence starts to crumble near the end. My specific question above was, Is it fair to say that you agree that the application of radioactive dating to igneous rocks gives billions of years for the age of the Earth? From what you say here ("A number of radiometric dates do give dates consistent with the mainstream age".) and elsewhere, I infer that your answer is yes. Let me know if I am misinterpreting your position. It would be interesting if you could commit yourself to a quantitative statement of the accuracy of radiometric methods, like "They are generally accurate within a factor of 1.2 / 2 / 10." but even if you think the error is commonly a factor of 10 or 100, that doesn't change the consequence for the Gretchen Question: There is a huge amount of information on radioisotopes in rocks from a variety of different decay chains and methods, and it all points to the fact that some rocks have experienced the equivalent of billions of years of radioactive decay.
You appear to agree with the RATE team that the hypothesis that minimizes the contradictions within the young Earth paradigm is that in the past the decay rate was accelerated (presumably relative to chemical and gravitational timescales, although neither you nor other creationists have ever gone into this point). There are a number of indications (Radioactive dating#Nuclear processes and parameters in the geologic past and Radioactive dating#Comparison with independent dating methods) that this has not occurred, and if it had, not only would the acceleration require a miracle and/or currently unknown physics, but so would the disposal of the heat produced. Those are all reasons to consider the radiometric evidence for an old Earth to be a scientifically strong argument. It is incomprehensible how you can say, as you do further down on this page, that these arguments "weren't that good".
You mention here the salt clock, as you do down below and have in several other places recently. In response to such a reference of yours many, many months ago. I searched for and read what I could find on this issue, looked at it from every side I could, and tried to bring as much coherence into the various sources as possible. The result was the article Sodium balance of the ocean. This is what is known as "engaging with the evidence". Re-reading that article, I think it makes a cogent case that an essentially infinite age of the ocean lies within the error bars, even if the "most likely" age—in some sense—is a few tens of million years. ("a few tens of million years" is likely to come out for this problem whenever the data are uncertain because that is the residence time of sodium in the ocean.) You are probably right that the scientific arguments for a young Earth don't get much better than this one, but in comparison to radioactive dating (and tree rings, and varves, and ice layers, and astronomical dating, and ...) it is a sorry argument.
—Awc 13:15, 18 July 2012 (UTC)
tell me you did not invoke ocean salinity as young earth evidence ? More accurately, I invoked it as evidence against the deep time viewpoint.
You left out quite a lot though. No I didn't. I referred to ocean salinity. I did not give the entire argument. Therefore it is completely unreasonable to claim that I've left things out. And you've not provided any evidence that the argument itself omitted those things, nor that they are relevant.
You can get a vast range of dates from discussing this but a useable age is very unlikely. False. You can get a maximum date, which is usable.
The maximum date is that corresponding to the upper limit of the error bars, which is infinite, therefore useless. —Awc 14:57, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
feel free. Oh, by a proper paper in a scientific journal like any scientist is expected to do, with evidence and reasoning stated. Expecting something that is not allowed is very poor form, and nothing more than abuse. Stop abusing.
My specific question above was… That was one of your questions. Another was Do you think you can state your position unambiguously, once and for all?
…Is it fair to say that you agree that the application of radioactive dating to igneous rocks gives billions of years for the age of the Earth? From what you say here ("A number of radiometric dates do give dates consistent with the mainstream age".) and elsewhere, I infer that your answer is yes. Let me know if I am misinterpreting your position. You are inferring incorrectly, and therefore misrepresenting my position. Your question was about radioactive dating of igneous rocks in general. My answer that you quoted was about selected dates, so it not the affirmative answer to your more general question that you portray it as.
It would be interesting if you could commit yourself to a quantitative statement of the accuracy of radiometric methods… They are very inaccurate.
…like "They are generally accurate within a factor of 1.2 / 2 / 10." but even if you think the error is commonly a factor of 10 or 100… Suppose you have a number of clocks. Some are stopped, some are running fast, some are running backwards. At any one time, some (including the stopped ones) may show the correct time. This is not a good analogy of radiometric dating, but serves to point out that the issue is not their accuracy per se, but their reliability, what they are actually measuring, or etc. The point is that I'm not putting a factor on because that implies that you can apply an adjustment factor to them to derive the correct date, which is not necessarily the case. Perhaps with some you can, or perhaps a correction factor is only part of the solution.
There is a huge amount of information on radioisotopes in rocks from a variety of different decay chains and methods, and it all points to the fact that some rocks have experienced the equivalent of billions of years of radioactive decay. Not true. Some of the evidence points that way, but other evidence points to the same rocks being much younger.
…presumably relative to chemical and gravitational timescales, although neither you nor other creationists have ever gone into this point… I'm not sure of your point here. We all agree on what time is, so where's the need to go into that point?
There are a number of indications … that this has not occurred, and if it had, not only would the acceleration require a miracle and/or currently unknown physics, but so would the disposal of the heat produced. There are also indications that it has occurred, and as for the problems, are only evolutionists allowed to have unanswered problems?
Those are all reasons to consider the radiometric evidence for an old Earth to be a scientifically strong argument. "Strong" compared to what? The stronger argument for a young Earth? Your comment is rhetoric.
I think it makes a cogent case that an essentially infinite age of the ocean lies within the error bars, even if the "most likely" age—in some sense—is a few tens of million years. Hmmm. I admit that I've not looked at that article much. That is, I've obviously seen it (because I've edited it), but not stood back and looked at it overall (my edits were copyedits, and I'd not even noticed that the references do not include anything from Humphreys and Austin, despite them being quoted extensively (the Research page does have the links, though).). That article is heavy on technical details, to the point that one could say that it buries the reader in details rather than making clear what it's getting at. In it you say that "the critical question is not what the most probable estimate is of the ratio F_out/F_in (Austin and Humphreys argue for 0.58), but whether it is possible to eliminate the possibility that the ratio is actually unity." Your subsequent answer is that it's not possible. But are both the question and answer reasonable? Is it fair (in this case) to favour the possible over the probable? Is the claimed failure to eliminate a possibility a case of grasping at straws? Does it fairly balance Humphreys and Austin with Morton, given the latter's failure to publish in a peer-review forum?
Simplifying to make the point clearer, suppose you really knew all the inputs and outputs of sodium to the oceans as well as the total inventory, but your numbers had some known Guassian error associated with them. Suppose further that the inputs and outputs were in fact balanced, corresponding to an infinite age. What would you expect to calculate for the age of the ocean? Half the time your calculations would show the salt content decreasing, so no age at all could be deduced. Almost all of the other half of the time your calculations would falsely show an age of tens of millions of years. The standard scientific procedure in such a case is to define a desired confidence level, often 95%, and apply this rule:
If the hypothesis of an infinite age were true, and I "rolled the dice" with the data many times, then 95% of the time the age I calculate will be greater than x, and 5% of the time it will be less than x. If the age I actually calculate turns out to be less than x, then I can reject my hypothesis (with 95% confidence). If the age I actually calculate turns out to be greater than x, then the data is insufficient to allow any conclusion at all.
The latter, although a bit more complicated, is the case. —Awc 14:57, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
You are probably right that the scientific arguments for a young Earth don't get much better than this one… I gave no such indication.
…in comparison to radioactive dating (and tree rings, and varves, and ice layers, and astronomical dating, and ...) it is a sorry argument. Given that they are sorry arguments, I fail to see why this is so.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 09:18, 4 August 2012 (UTC)
I'm having trouble identifying the meat in most of your other comments. I'm tempted to explain once again why we don't "all agree on what time is", but you probably wouldn't understand it this time around either. More important is the part where I am misrepresenting (because misunderstanding) your position on the amount of radioactive decay that has occurred in rocks. Maybe you are just bothered because I used the word "date" so let me ask it this way:
Is it fair to say that you agree that there are igneous rock formations with radioactive decay products equivalent to billions of years of decay at present rates?
—Awc 21:19, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

...since you rubbed that particular lamp

A little ways back (here) you mentioned a "critical look at some of the prophecies" and that Philip and I "dropped the topic." Yes, I did drop the topic - and I think you deserve an explanation as to why. I had invested quite a bit of time and effort and would have been happy to keep working on it but for the trend I saw developing of an increasing number of subjective conditions being "reserved". We were at your whim as to the definition of "unambiguous" (as to fulfilment), "specific" (as to prediction), "reasonable" (as to counter-explanations) and even to the dating of the prophecies (unless Philip or I happened to have a family heirloom manuscript from the prophet's own hand properly dated by him, with properly documented chain-of-custody). I had nearly pulled out of the whole discussion twice earlier (when you declared post-hoc that the end of the Edomite civilisation was not specific, and when you dismissively and unreasonably declared that there is "no good evidence" for an early date of Daniel) before I finally admitted to myself that your reservations and conditions were effectively unfalsifiable, and multiplying. I would like to see that case study through to its conclusion but to do so we would have to go back to first principles and establish actual objective criteria and definitions with none of these "conditions I tucked into the word" cropping up later. I don't know that I have the energy and determination to start over at this point; I certainly do not have the time - especially if there is a probability that the time will be wasted again. I would probably enjoy taking up some points from your "where I stand" essay, and your "scientific evidence=>old earth" argument but I truly do not have the time for multiple discussions of the depth required and I do not think it fair to start up new disagreements when I have left one unresolved. LowKey 00:55, 8 May 2012 (UTC)

(For reference, the discussion on prophecy that LowKey refers to started in Research talk:Alleged problems in the Bible#Where skeptics look, and what they think they find, which led to the Research:Prophecy and Research talk:Prophecy pages. —Awc 06:59, 8 May 2012 (UTC))

Thank you for the explanation, LowKey. I wondered where you disappeared to.
This thread was started by this incredibly uncompromising statement by Ruylopez:
The evidence of biblical prophetic accuracy is very powerful and persuasive evidence as can be seen HERE. You have to willfully choose to illegitimately ignore/dismiss it in order to not believe in its divine origin.
Maybe it raised my hackles to be called willfully ignorant, but I responded calmly that there are absolutely no "Biblical prophecies that have been unambiguously fulfilled". The context is thus not whether fulfilled prophecies exist in the Bible, but whether they are "powerful and persuasive evidence" for the "divine origin" of the Bible. Surely you must see that cases that are ambiguous may be valid, but they cannot make a powerful or persuasive argument. This is not a whim of mine, but the nature of evidence. If God wanted to put prophecy into the Bible as his signature, he certainly didn't do a very good job. I have made a detailed case on this site that, for anyone who doesn't presuppose the answer, the scientific evidence is "powerful and persuasive" that the Earth is old. No one here has yet shown that the case for fulfilled Biblical prophecies is at all persuasive, unless you assume at the outset that the Bible is infallible.
If you don't have time to pursue this topic, that's fine with me. I said I was through here anyway (except for making comments from the peanut gallery). Still, I can't believe you or Philip or anyone, really, believes the Bible because of fulfilled prophecies or historical accuracy, and certainly not because of evidence from geology and astronomy. Why then do people believe the Bible is infallible? The only reason that makes any sense to me is subjective feelings. (I don't mean that to be derogatory. My own belief that it is better to know than not to know, or my sense of morality, is also fundamentally based on subjective and non-rational emotions.)
—Awc 11:15, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
I acknowledge that I was working on the existence of fulfilled prophecies rather than their evidentiary value per se (I think I may have mentioned that at some point). I do think that there is a necessary connexion, though, from establishing valid prophecy to evidencing reliable scripture, however I thought "existence" was enough of a mouthful to chew before working on "evidence" or "persuasiveness". I now see that it was too big a bite and we would need to nibble on "prediction", "fulfilment" and "falsification" first.
I can see how RuyLopez's statement could raise your hackles, and you did indeed respond calmly, but your response was at least as "uncompromising" (I like your diplomatic choice of word, there). It was your "unqualified no" which drew me in, which I think is why I found the qualifications/conditions/reservations that were cropping up to be so discouraging. There are issues in this prophecy discussion which do spill over into your other major discussion here, not least of which is that while one may strive to not presuppose an answer one necessarily makes presuppositions about the answer, the question, even the system being investigated. There are even epistomological presuppositions that have not been explicitly established let alone tested (and if Teh Asp is reading this, it has nothing to do with Presuppositional Apologetics - which by the way is not actually a form of apologetics).
I am warming to the idea of re-opening the case study, and even perhaps taking up further discussion, but time really is an issue for me. Maybe if I can find the time, you can leave the gallery to the nuts and re-engage. LowKey 00:29, 9 May 2012 (UTC)

Comment on user page

Awc, you have on your user page that "After some discussion of what I meant by this statement, Philip agreed with my assessment." This is incorrect.

The statement I supposedly agreed with is "On the whole, however, he does not engage with the evidence." The comment that supposedly shows my agreement was "I'm saying that I'd like to, but that I don't think it would be a good use of my time.". But what was that referring to? Here is the sequence of the relevant comments:

  • Me: I don't think it's worth the effort.
  • You: Now I know why you do not engage with the evidence. It is because you don't want to.
  • Me: That does not follow from what I said.
  • You: is it correct anyway? Or are you saying you want to engage with the evidence but you can't for some reason?
  • Me: I'm saying that I'd like to, but that I don't think it would be a good use of my time.

But what was my first statement in that sequence about? Here is the comment which contained those words:

The reason I don't answer the question is that to do so I would have to study the evidence (presented here) at some length, being careful to exclude from my thinking everything else I know about the topic, and trying to be objective about things that are not completely objective anyway, and this would take a fair bit of time. I don't think it's worth the effort.

So my comment was not about not engaging with the evidence "on the whole", but in expending the effort on a particular study of a particular set of evidence, that being just the scientific evidence presented on aSK.

Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 10:39, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

Exactly. That is why I mentioned the discussion of what I meant by the statement. In that discussion I made clarifying statements like, Philip essentially said that he believed that the total evidence favored his own worldview, but that that evidence was not presented in his encyclopedia. The fact that he still has not gone to the trouble of presenting the "real" evidence is what I mean by not engaging with the evidence., and, You do not engage with the scientific evidence, presented here, concerning the age of the world. I will add some wording to make that distinction clearer without having to look up the discussion. —Awc 14:21, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
I find it hard to understand exactly what you are saying here, and your current statement on your user page is still misrepresenting me. You say that, in response to a particular set of propositions relating to the age of the Earth, my answer is "thousands of years". You make reasonably clear that that is not a direct quote, but take it as correct because I didn't correct it when you asked. I'm not sure why I didn't respond to that post; perhaps because it wasn't clearly phrased as a question, combined with being busy on other things, and not realising that you would "quote" me on it, I thought I'd let it go. I don't know. But my true answer to that particular selective question would be "I don't know", not "thousands of years". Yet you go on to claim that this means that I've made to statement that are not compatible with each other. The reason they are not compatible is that I didn't make one of them. In fact, rather than answer "thousands of years", I said (in effect) "I have not, in isolation, studied the particular subset of evidence you referred to". So that's an implied "don't know", not "thousands of years". And that is completely at odds with your user page saying "Philip is willing to take a position on what a subset of evidence implies without examining that evidence." Because I hadn't studied it, I didn't take a position.
To correct something else that I haven't corrected before, your claim that "Philip essentially said that he believed that the total evidence favored his own worldview, but that that evidence was not presented in his encyclopedia." is either ambiguous or misleading (in the second part). Suppose that there were a total of 26 (evidence-related) arguments favouring thousands of years, labelled A to Z, and 26 arguments favouring billions of years, labelled a to z. Further suppose that A to M are scientific arguments, and N to Z are other arguments, such as historical (eyewitness) evidence. Over the years, I have considered most of those 52 arguments, and believe that they point to thousands of years. (It's not just a matter of counting arguments, but judging how good they are. My conclusion was that most of the a to z ones weren't that good.) For that matter, I think that just considering A to M and a to z favours thousands of years. In this story, this site had discussed 15 of the A to Z arguments, and 5 of the a to z arguments (fewer because they weren't so good). So I also believed that the arguments presented on this site favoured thousands of years.
Awc comes along and adds more of the missing ones from the a to z side. Then he says to ignore the N to Z ones because they are not scientific arguments. So he then asks me whether I think the particular subset of arguments he has identified favour billions of years. Trying to be objective and honest, I don't give a positive answer to that, because I haven't spent the time considering just that particular subset. I do, however, still think that taking all the arguments (A to Z and a to z) or even all the scientific arguments (A to M and a to z) favours thousands of years. This is what Awc refers to as "the total evidence...that...was not presented in his encyclopedia". He is correct that that particular set (A to M and a to z) has not been presented in this encyclopædia, but that doesn't mean that none of them have been as could be understood from his statement.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:35, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
Further suppose that A to M are scientific arguments ... In this story, this site had discussed 15 of the A to Z arguments, and 5 of the a to z arguments What's missing from this story is the fact that there were no articles on this site on the scientific evidence directly relevant to the age of the Earth until I showed up. (Except Radioactive dating, which isn't one of A to M.) You just don't care about scientific evidence. —Awc 07:19, 20 July 2012 (UTC)
Point taken about the lack of articles, but it's not true that I don't care about scientific evidence. The lack of articles was due to the site still being young. The Biblical creation article did already mention some scientific evidence before you arrived. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 11:00, 4 August 2012 (UTC)

radiometric dating errors

Hi Awc, I saw your comment on radiometric dating something older than the earth. There was some stuff on talk origins on the creationist RATE project. It may have been called Refuting Rate. Certainly there are all sorts of problems with inclusions, closure temperatures and excess argon to be considered. There are well known and documented though. Hamster 19:30, 12 June 2012 (UTC)

I can't find anything on this there either. Inclusions tend to shift the date toward their own age, and heating events tend to shift the date toward that of the event. Neither effect should be able to give an age older than the age of the Earth. Excess argon might in principle result in an arbitrarily old date, but if most of the documented cases have excess argon equivalent to a few million years, it would be strange that this case has four orders of magnitude more.
I notice that Sarfati doesn't deny Plimer's comment, but he doesn't verify it either. Maybe Plimer just got it wrong, especially if he is such a bad source as Sarfati makes him out to be.
—Awc 06:28, 13 June 2012 (UTC)

Site policy

The site policy has long been contradictory with what Philip says, because of regulation 6, which I tried to get clarification on. To be honest, it seems like site policy is used ad hoc to push a view. %Sterileevolutionist story telling! 13:13, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

That thread drifted away from the policy question when it was about 1% along. I'm not sure just what Philip had in mind when he wrote that regulation, but I haven't seen any cases where it was a problem, either for me or in proposed edits by anyone else. In contrast, his attempt to delete relevant information on the history of dating the KBS tuff is a problem. I wish I could cite a policy to end the discussion, but the written policies are too sketchy for that, so I am glad I got a clarification two years ago. —Awc 14:33, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
which I tried to get clarification on And which you got.
In contrast, his attempt to delete relevant information on the history of dating the KBS tuff is a problem. The issue—in a sense—is whether it is "relevant" information.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 15:26, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
Platypus was censored, with discussion here. Pretty bizarre if you ask me. %Sterileevolutionist story telling! 23:09, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
Platypus was censored…. "Censored" is a strong word. Bradley reverted your changes, citing Regulation 6 in his edit comment, and you questioned what that was. You were told what it was, but instead of questioning whether or not it really did violate Reg. 6, you instead discussed other issues. Note that in that discussion I said "I think Sterile's edits were only borderline in violation of regulation 6. But they had several other problems, including wrongly accusing creationists of denying evidence, and citing a blog article that confused evidence with evolutionary belief." (emphasis added). A reasonable person would seize on that as an opportunity to see if there was a way that it or a modified version of it could stay without violating Reg. 6, if that was really your goal. But you were more interested in incorporating anti-creationist rhetoric and arguing about tangents that trying to improve the article. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:22, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
The issue—in a sense—is whether it is "relevant" information. I have it on good authority that it is relevant: Granted, the additional points ... are relevant to the mainstream view.. —Awc 06:48, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

Oh, I haven't done a Philip-style tqing in ages. What fun!
"Censored" is a strong word. But accurate.
including wrongly accusing creationists of denying evidence. The "anti-creationist" evidence that is cited is the platypus genomic data. My edits to the platypus article stated that the creationists "claim that genetic and morphological similarities are not evidence of evolution with the mechanisms of mutation and natural selection". While perhaps poorly worded, that isn't saying that the creationists deny the evidence, but that the fact that it is evidence for evolution.
citing a blog article that confused evidence with evolutionary belief The only cited blog article is still in the article, about how a platypus is a mammal according to genomic data. If it's such a problem, why is it still in there?
A reasonable person Yes, when the facts are against you, stoop to trying to hit below the belt with a character attack. I guess we've all gotten used to you by now.
you were more interested in incorporating anti-creationist rhetoric Far more of what was deleted was from creationist sources, about how the platypus got to Australia. The only "anti-creationist" information is still in the article, again, the genetic information about the platypus being a mammal. What other "anti-creationist rhetoric" are you referring to? %Sterileevolutionist story telling! 11:45, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

But accurate. Because...? Simply asserting your claim does not an argument make. I didn't stop at saying "'Censored' is a strong word". I went on to explain why I didn't think "censored" was a reasonable way to describe it. Your response has no supporting explanation at all. It's as though you seem to think simply asserting your opinion is sufficient to make an argument.
My edits to the platypus article stated that the creationists "claim that genetic and morphological similarities are not evidence of evolution with the mechanisms of mutation and natural selection". While perhaps poorly worded, that isn't saying that the creationists deny the evidence, but that the fact that it is evidence for evolution. What about the bit where you said "Creationists have denied the genomic evidence"? Perhaps that was poor wording on your part too, but it is what you said, and so my comment that your edit was "wrongly accusing creationists of denying evidence" is justified. Perhaps if you'd been prepared to rationally debate your edit at the time, including perhaps proposing modified wording given that you concede that it may be poorly worded, you might have got at least some of your edit reinstated.
The only cited blog article is still in the article, about how a platypus is a mammal according to genomic data. If it's such a problem, why is it still in there? I don't recall now. Perhaps I did overlook that point. Or perhaps my point was to comment on your edit rather than to justify the partial reversion of it. Or perhaps because, following the reversion, it was only being used to justify a scientific observation, not to justify confusing a belief with evidence.
Yes, when the facts are against you, stoop to trying to hit below the belt with a character attack. I guess we've all gotten used to you by now. Pot, meet kettle. Note, though, that I didn't say that you were not a reasonable person. I said what I thought a reasonable person would do (knowing, admittedly, that you hadn't done that). You didn't dispute that a reasonable person would do that. So you've given tacit approval to my comment, and thereby incriminated yourself under the "if the cap fits…" principle.
Far more of what was deleted was from creationist sources, about how the platypus got to Australia. I think you exaggerate a little, but that's not far from true. However…
The only "anti-creationist" information is still in the article, again, the genetic information about the platypus being a mammal. What other "anti-creationist rhetoric" are you referring to? This is completely false. First, the genetic information is not "anti-creationist information". Facts are not anti-creationist. Second, the other "anti-creationist rhetoric" was the claim that creationists have denied the evidence and the inference that "scientists" say something different to "creationists", as though the two are mutually exclusive. Third, much of the bit from creationist sources was a set-up in order to knock down with the final line starting "This is remarkable since …"
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 05:21, 16 September 2012 (UTC)

Bored to tears

It's almost been five months since you wrote that. There are other things to do. Movies to watch. Places to visit. Books to read. People to meet. Other intellectual pursuits, even on the internet, and not in such a remote corner. Maybe at least step away for awhile? %Sterileevolutionist story telling! 03:08, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

Good advice. Would you like to go out for a beer?
I have, at least, learned my lesson on soft topics like Creation-evolution controversy and Genetic information. It is definitely not worth fighting to fix them. I thought I was weaning myself from my addiction, but then Philip made a slew of reversions on hard science pages, mostly Radioactive dating. I wasn't able to sit back while he simply threw out essential information that I had taken the time and trouble to research. You see, I have this fantasy that someday some misinformed but open-minded young person will stumble by the site. The future course of their career, the Enlightenment, and the well-being of mankind could hinge on accuracy of what they read here about geology and palaeontology.
Hmmm. Maybe it's time to find myself a new fantasy. Or take up piano again.
A toast to real life!
—Awc 07:19, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
I'd love to go for a beer. (Ask Teh Terrible Asp--we have!) But do what you have to do.... %Sterileevolutionist story telling! 13:34, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
You know sumpin? I'm still bored to tears.
I tried to get up the stomach to take on Philip's latest round of poor edits. For example, I wondered about his edit saying, "Darwin's prediction that sexual selection would favour appearance has been falsified". It's not like I had to do a lot of research. I just followed his link to creation.com, and then their link to New Scientist, and there I found "The authors seem to ignore the fact that three previous independent studies have found relationships between mating success and train morphology." For Philip, one study of one example of sexual selection, even if it is contradicted by three other studies, is even for a blanket falsification of sexual selection.
He could probably lure me back into a discussion if he ever was willing to face the Gretchen question. Even on the secondary question of evolution, I find it amazing that creationists constantly nibble around the edges of the fossil record but never face the fundamental observation of the fossil succession. They throw out the easily falsified ideas of ecological zonation, hydrological sorting, and differential escape, but never even bother to defend then against the criticisms because even they realize that would be hopeless.
As far as my fantasies of changing anybody's mind, this is probably the way it really is.
End exit rave. Tennis, anyone?
—Awc 20:23, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
I have, at least, learned my lesson on soft topics like Creation-evolution controversy and Genetic information. ?? Most of your changes to the former remain.
It is definitely not worth fighting to fix them. Who says they need fixing?
Philip made a slew of reversions on hard science pages, mostly Radioactive dating. I wasn't able to sit back while he simply threw out essential information that I had taken the time and trouble to research. "Essential information" that was intended to obscure a relevant point that was uncomfortable to evolutionists.
…I have this fantasy that someday some misinformed but open-minded young person will stumble by the site. As do I. Which is why I wanted an encyclopædia that didn't push the close-minded evolutionary propaganda that you seem to think should infest this site as well as almost every other encyclopædia.
The future course of their career, the Enlightenment, and the well-being of mankind could hinge on accuracy of what they read here about geology and palaeontology. Exactly (except for the mis-named "Enlightenment" bit). Evolution teaches people that we are nothing more than a bit of slime on the planet, that there is no ultimate meaning to life, and that there is no life after death. It teaches people that God doesn't exist, thereby denying them their eternal life in Heaven. So why promote such a soul-destroying and society-destroying philosophy?
For Philip, one study of one example of sexual selection, even if it is contradicted by three other studies, is even for a blanket falsification of sexual selection. For Awc, a few unspecified studies claimed to show a relationship in accord with the prevailing view trump several factors pointing the other way:
  • We have here a detailed study over several years claimed to be trumped by three unspecified studies of unspecified length and detail.
  • Even the critic of the study (Petrie) conceded that studies showing a lack of correlation are not likely to get published. So here we have admitted bias in favour of studies supporting the prevailing view.
  • Another of those references cites Science showing that it's not just the one study: "But a remarkably candid review, written by evolutionists and published recently in Science journal, refers to the accumulated ‘fatal problems’ of Darwin’s sexual selection theory, and that case studies show it ‘is always mistaken’ and therefore ‘needs to be replaced’".
He could probably lure me back into a discussion if he ever was willing to face the Gretchen question. Huh? I know that you know that I have written a response to your essay on that, and you have not responded to my criticisms of your bias displayed in your essay.
I find it amazing that creationists constantly nibble around the edges of the fossil record but never face the fundamental observation of the fossil succession. That creationists never face the fundamental observation of fossil succession is wrong and you know it, because you go on to mention creationist responses to it. Further, I don't agree that "fossil succession" is such a "fundamental observation". I agree that there is a gross order—bottom-dwelling creatures lower down, swimming creatures higher up, and land creatures at the top, but this is completely compatible with the idea of burial in ecological zonation, that you somehow dismiss as "easily falsified". The more detailed claims of "fossil succession" are not "fundamental observations", with many fossils found contrary to the evolutionary order, but explained away with the flexibility that evolution so often displays. An example is Tiktaalik, claimed as a successful prediction of evolution because it was found where it was supposed to be chronologically intermediate between fish and tetrapods, only to have evidence subsequently discovered of tetrapods earlier in the fossil record. Oops. So much for that "fundamental observation of the fossil succession".
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 11:43, 16 September 2012 (UTC)
I didn't respond to User:Philip J. Rayment/The Gretchen Question: Response because you agreed I was correct. What you still haven't done, and show no inclination to do, is to face the question itself. —Awc 13:23, 16 September 2012 (UTC)
Okay, then perhaps you need to explain what you mean by "address the question". I have addressed your essay. The subtitle to it is "The crucial question for creationists is the age of creation." If you mean that I have not said what the age of creation is, this is false: it is approximately 6,000 years ago. If you mean that I haven't addressed the implications of the mainstream age (4.5 thousand million years for Earth, older for the universe), that's because I don't accept those ages. So just what do you mean by "address the question"? Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 02:07, 17 September 2012 (UTC)
Give an evidence-based and logical answer other than "I don't know" to the question repeated under User:Awc#Fare thee well. —Awc 07:27, 17 September 2012 (UTC)
... It is probably a mistake to permit any distractions from the Gretchen question, but I think it needs to be clearly said that this statement:
there is a gross order—bottom-dwelling creatures lower down, swimming creatures higher up, and land creatures at the top
is a brazen lie. Bottom dwellers and fish are found in every geological system from the Cambrian to the Quaternary, and land dwellers are found in every system from the Devonian to the Quaternary. Ecological zonation can explain nothing about the fossil succession. —Awc 07:27, 17 September 2012 (UTC)
Give an evidence-based and logical answer other than "I don't know" to the question repeated under User:Awc#Fare thee well That's not the Gretchen question. That's a question relating to an arbitrary set of evidence. So I was right: I have addressed the Gretchen question.
is a brazen lie. By "lie" are you accusing me of saying something that I know to be untrue?
Bottom dwellers and fish are found in every geological system from the Cambrian to the Quaternary, and land dwellers are found in every system from the Devonian to the Quaternary. Remember, I was talking about a gross order. Are you saying that bottom dwellers and fish are found in every geological system, etc. to (roughly) the same extent? That is, they aren't mostly found in the order I indicated? In any case, your concession that land creatures are not found below the Devonian does indicate a gross order.
Ecological zonation can explain nothing about the fossil succession. "Nothing"? Absolutely nothing? Despite it being consistent with the gross order?
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 13:22, 17 September 2012 (UTC)
The Gretchen question

Goethe was a keen observer of human nature. The first reaction of Faust to Gretchen's question was to ask her exactly what she meant by the question. Then he went into a wordy philosophical discourse to avoid giving a straight answer. You are in good company when you try to avoid facing the question. That's facing, as in facing the facts, and facing the consequences. You suggest that you have privately arrived at 6,000 years as an "evidence-based and logical" answer to the question of the age of the Earth. I don't believe you. You have given me no reason to believe you. —Awc 20:40, 17 September 2012 (UTC)

The fossil succession

Yes, I believe I am accusing you of saying something that you know to be untrue. I considered the alternatives. Perhaps you are just criminally gullible and repeating the lies of other creationists, but you claim to have looked at the evidence yourself, and your writing supports this statement. You might be simply incapable of understanding the evidence, but I don't think that scenario is likely. I can't know for sure what you do or don't know, and I wouldn't want to underestimate the ability of the human mind to deceive itself, but you should know that what you're saying is not true, and that's close enough to call it a lie.

Your statement of the situation is correct: bottom dwellers and fish are found in every geological system to roughly the same extent. They are not mostly found at the bottom and middle of the pile, respectively, as would be expected if ecological zonation had a thread of truth to it. Also, "For example, insects and amphibians are found two systems deeper than any oysters, and pines (which often grow at high elevation) are found 4 systems lower than mangroves (which always grow on the coast)." —Awc 20:40, 17 September 2012 (UTC)

I guess it's long past time that I replied to this.
I don't believe you. You have given me no reason to believe you. No, I have given you no reason that you accept as a satisfactory reason. But then I doubt that you'd accept any reason as satisfactory.
You are in good company when you try to avoid facing the question. That's facing, as in facing the facts, and facing the consequences. Bluster. I have faced the question and faced the facts. I come to a different conclusion than you do regarding the consequences. In effect, I haven't "faced" the question because I don't have the same answer you do.
Perhaps you are just criminally gullible… Pardon? Criminally gullible? This is mud-slinging, not objective argument.
…repeating the lies of other creationists… What lies? You have not shown that they lie. You are attempting to justify calling me a liar by calling others liars too. It hardly makes your case.
You might be simply incapable of understanding the evidence… No, I simply understand it in a different way than you do. Having a different view is not the same as being "criminally gullible", lying, or incapable of understanding.
…you should know that what you're saying is not true… That's begging the question.
…bottom dwellers and fish are found in every geological system to roughly the same extent. Yet a key evolutionary argument is that different fossils are found in different layers.
Also, "For example [snip] You are quoting yourself, and, more importantly, citing individual cases that might be exceptions to the rule, and certainly I could quote exceptions to the evolutionary rule too.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 11:41, 22 August 2013 (UTC)
I see that nothing has changed. The last two comments, the only ones remotely related to the subject, show that you are still either gullible, lying, or incapable of understanding. —Awc 19:48, 22 August 2013 (UTC)
The last two comments, the only ones remotely related to the subject,… Huh? You apparently thought it worth making the other comments I replied to, but then dismiss my responses as unrelated to the subject. They may be unrelated, but they still show that your arguments are based on fallacies.
…you are still either gullible, lying, or incapable of understanding. Bald assertion.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 04:43, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

bored part deux

…bottom dwellers and fish are found in every geological system to roughly the same extent. Yet a key evolutionary argument is that different fossils are found in different layers. I dont even understand the point being made here. In an evolutionery sense bottom dwellers would be expected in certain layers over a wide geologic time period since bottom dwelling creatures is a specific ecological niche. You would find them in layers that were deposited in water. In a biblical model you would have whatever God faked in the original creation of the earth ( object if you like ) and whatever fossils formed in the 6000 years since. oh wait, nearly forgot the immense upheaval of THE FLOOD ! Why in a flood model would you get more than 1 layer of say bottom dwelling aquatic life, or if the flood was chaotic different combinations of species depending on the specific location and the dynamics of the flood waters at that point in the flood ? What IS found fits very well with the evolutionery model and poorly with the flood model. why no cows in the precambrian layers ? Hamster (talk) 16:18, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

In a biblical model you would have whatever God faked in the original creation of the earth ( object if you like )… I object. Try sticking to rational argument.
Why in a flood model would you get more than 1 layer of say bottom dwelling aquatic life, or if the flood was chaotic different combinations of species depending on the specific location and the dynamics of the flood waters at that point in the flood ? I don't fully follow the question (the second part at least). I've just added Flood geology#water dynamics and the following sub-section on fossils to explain it a bit better, but perhaps that's not enough to answer your question?
What IS found fits very well with the evolutionery model and poorly with the flood model. Creationists disagree.
why no cows in the precambrian layers ? For one, if the layer had cows in it, it wouldn't be classified as Precambrian.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 11:26, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

abiogenesis ? welcome to the lurkers

still watching Awc ? is the abiogenesis article now as big a pile as it looks ? I was going to object to the dna part but I am not sure what is considered life. Surely an organism, that can self replicate but without dna (and maybe not even rna ) would still suffice ? Hamster (talk) 17:30, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

I have moved on to better things, but I still watch recent changes. They are few and far between so it's not any work. But I set my trip wire to be really, really insensitive. This is the first time that PJR has managed to set off the alarm. —Awc 20:05, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
You're either on the bus or you're off the bus. This time, you set your tripwire too loosely if you were going to set it at all. PJR thrives on having it his way. Since you were the only person who could even stand interacting with him at any length, you were the only one holding intellectual honesty right up to his face to slow him down from doing what he was always going to do anyway. Honestly, Awc, after the Gretchen Question business so long ago, do you really want to have anything to do with this guy anymore? Teh Terrible Asp (talk) 22:24, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
I was going to object to the dna part but I am not sure what is considered life. Surely an organism, that can self replicate but without dna (and maybe not even rna ) would still suffice ? Perhaps, hypothetically, but given that no known example exists, this is pure speculation.
yes and abiogenesis is investigation how life may have started naturally. Do all sigle celled life forms use dna ? did any extinct life forms NOT use dna ? since 90% of all life historically is extinct its pure conjecture that life must have dna. Hamster (talk) 01:33, 23 August 2013 (UTC)
PJR thrives on having it his way. As opposed to all the evolutionists who want it their way, not only in institutions they control, but in ones they don't control too?
Since you were the only person who could even stand interacting with him at any length… It does help to have a commitment to reason, not slander, as you effectively admit: …you were the only one holding intellectual honesty right up to his face…. Perhaps if you tried some more intellectual honesty you might have gotten further.
What "Gretchen Question business"? I responded to his essay, pointing out numerous errors and biases, but there has been no admission of error nor corrections. Yet somehow I'm the one at fault. Of course. I'm the evil creationist.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 11:51, 22 August 2013 (UTC)
Do all sigle celled life forms use dna ? As far as we know, yes.
did any extinct life forms NOT use dna ? Not as far as we know.
since 90% of all life historically is extinct… A figure plucked from the air, presumably, and based on an evolutionary worldview.
… its pure conjecture that life must have dna. No, it's not pure conjecture. It's what the evidence points to. Sure, science cannot prove anything; it can only disprove or fail to disprove. But just because, for example, every known case of letting go of something in a gravitational field and the lack of any other attraction (e.g. magnetic) causes it to move towards the centre of that field means that it's pure conjecture that this must always happen.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 04:49, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
gravity is poorly understood, but we have some working rules that apply within a range of sizes that includes objects we deal with daily. With biology we can not say what (yes in an evolutionery biology reference sense) what the very early life forms were, or that they used DNA. There is some evidence in abiogenesis that they did not. The 90% figure is a bit low and is based on fossil evidence. There is no 'field' involved in gravity, both objects move toward the common center of mass of the total system. example the earth orbits around the center of mass of thee earth/sun which just happens to be in the sun, but not in the middle of the sun. At quantum levels gravity as a theory fails, and there is some evidence that at very large scales it also fails. Hamster (talk) 15:51, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
While I grant your corrections on my wording regarding gravity, neither that nor your other point about quantum physics changes the point of my argument. But while it's more than "pure conjecture" that life must have DNA, neither am I saying that this proves that all life must have had DNA. This is a big gulf between "pure conjecture" at one extreme and "absolute proof" at the other. I'm rejecting the "pure conjecture" extreme; I'm not arguing for "absolute proof".
There is some evidence in abiogenesis that they did not. What is that evidence?
The 90% figure is a bit low and is based on fossil evidence. I've discussed this before somewhere, and I seem to recall that it is partly based on rates of extinction extrapolated over assumed evolutionary time. But there is another problem: …90% of all life… I presume that you mean 90% of all species, not of all individual creatures. But this depends on accurate classifications of fossils, something that is quite subjective given (a) the impossibility of testing for interfertility of fossils, the normal criterion for species determination, (b) the status of discovering a new species likely leading to at least some bias towards claiming a new species rather than another example of an existing species, and (c) the tendency to classify fossils from different presumed evolutionary periods as different species because of the supposed time separating them.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 11:47, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
start with Jack Szostaks web site on abiogenesis.
if you want to quibble about where spoon nosed, flat nosed and noseless boogums one species or three be my guest. Hamster (talk) 04:05, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
start with Jack Szostaks web site on abiogenesis. So you don't know what that evidence is?
I know what a number of people have found and are working on but you should read it first hand for yourself. Revise your knowledge of organic chemistry before you start Hamster (talk) 15:55, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
if you want to quibble about … species … be my guest. I did, and you've offered no refutation, so your 90%(+) claim remains questionable.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 09:10, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
…you should read it first hand for yourself. Read what?? You've not provided anything, other than a vague reference to a web-site.
Revise your knowledge of organic chemistry before you start Another meaningless comment.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 09:24, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
yes read Jacks website, Szostaks lab page all of it thats relevant to abiogenesis. If you dont have a good grasp of organic chemistry much of it will be difficult to grasp. Once you finish Jacks site there are a few others you could read as well. Hamster (talk) 17:57, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
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