Creative Destruction

July 18, 2007

Creation Of Evidence

Filed under: Evolution — Off Colfax @ 11:37 pm

Something I just gleaned from the comment section of the “Payment Received” cuneiform tablet that Robert brought to our attention on Sunday, which goes hand in hand with my comment here, is this story.

“Fingerprints of Creation”

While most of the article is too technical for me to follow in the entirety, I was able to follow the conclusions themselves quite clearly. The existence of a single molecular formation in some types of granites is said to be proof of the instantaneous creation of the planet. Now, I am no geologist; theoretical, practical, amateur or otherwise, this field quickly gets beyond my comprehension.

Yet this article follows the same neo-Randite logic that is condemned from the highest hilltops by the Young Earth Creationist community: if all of the arguments are logically coherent and you agree with one point of the argument, you must therefore agree with all points of the argument as they are a direct continuation of the piece of evidence that is presented by using Aristotle’s Law Of Identity (A is A.) as the logical vehicle.

Just as with Babsy’s hailing of being able to “ride a dinosaur” as being complete and total proof of Creationism. A is A.

Anyone who prefers the evidence of evolutionary processes that has an intellectual honesty this side of Richard Dawkins will admit that there are plenty of holes in the theory, which is precisely why it remains a theory rather than scientific law. Yet there remain those, like Dawkins, who see the development of drug-resistant microbes and herbicide-resistant plants as being the necessary and sufficient proof for Darwinian processes throughout the history (and prehistory) of life on this planet. A is A.

Fact: There was not a single member of species Homo sapiens on this planet when the Earth was formed. Not even the most rabid Creationist can dispute that, as their major source of evidence, Genesis 1, clearly states that man came after the Earth was fully formed.

Fact: We have no way of establishing time travel, so we cannot go back to the year 4006 B.C.(E.) and see whether the world was here or not.

Fact: Therefore, we cannot know for certain precisely what is or is not factual about the establishment of life. There is no way to gather evidence. There is no way to record the sequence of events. There is no way to even determine which of the conflicting evidence sets is accurate.

Until these base facts change, there will be no absolute proof as to what really happened at the start of this planet’s existence. Until then, all we have are theories and hypotheses: testable yet inconclusive statements as to how life began on this rock.

We can support one over the other, yet we can never find the absolute truth. The only thing that can be found here is belief. And regardless of how we might wish for a simple yes-or-no answer to one of the most penultimate questions about human existence, it will not be so easy.

Presentation of evidence is one thing. Insistence that the most minor detail that confirms your belief system over another is conclusive and argument-ending is quite a completely different matter.

11 Comments »

  1. When I look at my baby, I cannot believe that she is made from my own flesh (plus one sperm donation from her father). It has been extensively studied how fetuses are formed and developed. But is there an intelligent design behind all this? Sometimes I wonder. In any case, she sure is one beautiful little creature!

    Comment by greywhitie — July 19, 2007 @ 5:45 am | Reply

  2. I’m quite satisfied with mysteries and open-ended questions and theory contemplation that leads back to the starting point, chicken and egg-style. If I were pressed about what turns me on intellectually, I’d have to admit that I’m much more interested in finding out how things work in general than in trying to figure out when they began working. I love having some ponderable mysteries in my life. So, please don’t figure it out completely. Leave something to my imagination. LOL

    Comment by presentpeace — July 20, 2007 @ 12:49 am | Reply

  3. But is there an intelligent design behind all this?

    If so, the designer is Bill Gates et al. (The first time I proposed the “God as Microsoft” argument, there was a sudden clap of thunder on a clear day…Initially I wasn’t sure if that was God saying “am not” or “pwned”, but since it’s never been repeated and I didn’t get fried by the associated bolt of lightning, I’m falling back on coincidence as an explanation.) The human body is a huge kludge which only barely works under very limited circumstances. Though of course your kid is cute. Millions of years of evolution have ensured that mammals whose babies are not cute to them die out.

    Comment by Dianne — July 20, 2007 @ 5:10 am | Reply

  4. Intelligent design??? Are you joking? Seriously read any religious text. Do you think that God spent all this time creating the “magic” of Earth only to screw up his “greatest” creation’s understanding of Him? No God would bother to create the Grand Canyon and then forget to proof-read the Bible for basic inconsistencies and errors. Okay, here is one. You credit God with creating all the Heavens and Earth; however, an angel He created without free-will manages to turn on Him. Yeah, you are banking on spending eternity with a God that made such wonders as the platypus or the ostrich. REALLY people. Beyond the idea of intelligent *cough* design, who cares? Either you are wrong and you spent a lot of time on Earth worried about something that didn’t matter, or you are stuck with an Uncompassionate, confused, bi-polar (see New Testament vs Old Testament) God that might or might not send you to Hell for that burger you had during lent. Just live your life, be good to others, and be good to yourself.

    Comment by Babsy — July 20, 2007 @ 11:03 pm | Reply

  5. Theory is just another name for a scientific law. Almost no scientific law would meet the standard set forth in this post for scientific laws, nor should they.

    Comment by ohwilleke — July 25, 2007 @ 1:21 pm | Reply

  6. Naturally, I disagree with ohwilleke on this one.

    Virtually all of the base physical laws would pass this test with flying colors, just as they have since their wide-spread acceptance in the scientific community: gravitation, motion, thermodynamics, hydrodynamics, atomic and chemical structures, et cetera. (I would love to exclude the word “virtually” in the previous sentence, yet I have the nagging suspicion that I made a glaring omission somewhere so I’m hedging my bet somewhat.) All of the above mentioned scientific laws have been tested, re-tested, reverted to zero and re-tested, in both simulations and real-time experimentation, and not been found wanting regardless of how their opponents (secular and religious alike) fought against them.

    When it comes to the theories discussed in the original post, however, there is a singular limitation that has yet to be cleared in order to move them up from the theoretical camp: sample size.

    When it comes to planetary formation, we have a proven sample size of one: the Sol system. When it comes to the the liquid-water zone around any given star, we have a proven sample size of one: Earth. When it comes to the development of life, we have a proven sample size of one: Earth. When it comes to the development of sentience, we have a proven sample size of one: Homo sapiens.

    And that is why these standards would not apply to the aforementioned scientific laws. None of them are so desperately hamstrung by their sample sizes as would be any possible theory that attempts to answer the question of “How did life begin?” For, at this point in time, theories on the origin of life are not testable, not repeatable, and not independently verifiable. Therefore, they cannot become scientific laws.

    Comment by Off Colfax — July 25, 2007 @ 7:10 pm | Reply

  7. Virtually all of the base physical laws would pass this test with flying colors, just as they have since their wide-spread acceptance in the scientific community: gravitation, motion, thermodynamics, hydrodynamics, atomic and chemical structures, et cetera.

    Is there? Gravitation: Ever heard of the controversial “intelligent falling” theory? More seriously, gravitation contradicts another major and well accepted scientific theory*, that is quantam mechanics. Furthermore, there is no accepted theory of how gravity is transmitted, no identified gravity wave/particle. So how do masses separated in space know that they should be attracted to one another? Gaping holes in the theory. Motion: I’m not sure what you mean by this. If you mean Newtonian mechanics then surely I don’t need to point out that that theory is incomplete and superceded in the larger universe by relativity. Though F=ma will still get you to the moon and back, even if it doesn’t explain gravity lensing so well. Thermodynamics. Well, we know that thermodynamics must have been violated (or, more exactly, was not relevant for the situation) at least once: the universe expanded rapidly at its beginning and became more orderly. As a closed system. Something wrong there. Then there’s vacuum energy. I don’t see how that can not violate thermodynamics, though the problem there may be my understanding rather than the theory. And Hawking radiation: A particle and anti-particle form on the edge of the event horizon of a black hole. One goes in, the other out. Doesn’t that violate thermodynamics, conservation of energy, and conservation of lepton number? Atomic and chemical structure? First off, there are far too many sub-atomic particles for any of them to be the “real” indivisible base particle. Not to mention that no one has ever seen a quark so, by your claim that direct observation is the only way to be sure of a thing, they are unproven.

    *”Scientific theory” doesn’t mean what you think it means either. More on that later.

    Comment by Dianne — July 26, 2007 @ 4:42 am | Reply

  8. One problem is the difference between what the word “theory” means in a scientific context and what it means in less specialized speech.

    A scientific theory is an overall explanation of a collection of facts that explains the known facts and is widely or universally accepted in the scientific community. The theory of graviation. The theory of evolution. And believe me, you’ll find more serious physicists who doubt gravitation than serious biologists who doubt evolution. (Yes, scientists go around babbling about having a “theory” about this and that. They are using “theory” in the lay sense, not in the scientific sense when they do that. They should say “I have a SWAG about this or that” (see below).)

    A scientific law is a description of how the world behaves. If it is “broken” (that is, an observation contrary to the law is made) then it is no longer considered a law or is considered to be accurate only for certain situations, i.e. Newton’s laws.

    A hypothesis is basically a theory that doesn’t have as good evidence or general acceptance as a theory. For example, there are several hypotheses on how the universe will end, but no accepted theory (though it’s getting closer to accepted that it will expand indefinitely).

    A SWAG or scientific wild-ass guess is a guess based on little or no evidence. A hunch. A theory in lay speech. It is not generally accepted or taken particularly seriously, even by its originator, until it is proven or disproven by evidence.

    Comment by Dianne — July 26, 2007 @ 4:53 am | Reply

  9. When it comes to the development of sentience, we have a proven sample size of one: Homo sapiens

    Sorry about the multiple post effect. However…Depending on how you define “sentience”, this may or may not be true. There are certainly at least three other species of animals on earth that have self-awareness and the ability to recognize themselves (elephants, chimpanzees, dolphins.) If you mean the ability to use tools, then there is at least one more, chimpanzees. If you mean speech, that is less certain, although by Chomsky’s generally but not universally accepted hypothesis of linguistics (which is quite separate from his political ranting), it is doubtful that we would recognize speech in other animals if we did see it. If you mean the ability to write, perform calculus, and communicate over the internet, then one is probably right.

    Comment by Dianne — July 26, 2007 @ 4:58 am | Reply

  10. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/po-halos/

    Delusional. Colfax, imagine for a moment I argue that the universe was created by a large pizza. Let’s call it the “supreme” pizza. You argue that since we cannot time travel, we cannot see if Supreme Pizza in fact created the world and since we cannot get evidence, we cannot disprove the Existence of Supreme Pizza.

    The greek understood this better. The fact that something cannot be disproved is not sufficient to justify its existence. Turns out our ancestors liked the Sumerian history of creation.

    Comment by Vilon — August 7, 2007 @ 2:44 pm | Reply

  11. very interesting, but I don’t agree with you
    Idetrorce

    Comment by Idetrorce — December 15, 2007 @ 8:05 am | Reply


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