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Op Ed

Ars Technica - When religion and games intersect-and how it often goes badly.
In fact, religion seems to be such a taboo subject to include in video games that the only type of faith that really appears in titles here in the US is Christianity. Even then, the subject is often poorly addressed in games that are themselves poorly made. But why is it that religious content is so sparse in the realm of video games? The reasons are largely based on contention between religious and industry leaders, as well as the fact that you'll rarely find a topic as personal as faith.

Gamasutra - The Evolution Of The Class System In Games. Thanks Joker961.
This concept of min/maxing was something that grew out of the character design method of D&D. Depending on the character a player wanted, they could throw all of their weakness onto an irrelevant stat and turn themselves into a monster. TF2 characters are premade with this design in mind, so there’s less room for play customization, but less worry about game balance.

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335 Replies. 17 pages. Viewing page 10.
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155. Re: Op Ed Jan 23, 2010, 03:02 Amillennialist
 
Wowbagger_TIP wrote on Jan 22, 2010, 19:37:
You admit you didn't read or watch more than a small portion of what I linked [. . .] it's pointless to have this debate with you.

Still refusing to articulate one thing that you know to be true about Darwinism and how you know it.

(By the way, you're the one who had to start watching videos to learn what it was that he didn't know about Darwinism.)
I'm the only one of us that was honest about the fact that I wasn't up to speed on all the latest.

You were not "honest" about that. You're saying that now only because I noticed the timing of your change in tone and pressed you on it. I don't hold not knowing against you. Contrary to your libelous accusations against me, I'm always learning too.

At the same time, it's not fair to accuse me of "misunderstanding science" when I'm the one asking for actual evidence of abiogenesis and/or vertical speciation by only random, natural processes and you're scrambling to find out what you believe.

That makes your personal attacks appear to be only cover for not having a satisfactory answer.

I'm still doing better than you though, who still refers to modern evolutionary theory as "Darwinism" despite all the changes we've had since his time and all the corrections and additions made to his theories.

"Darwinism," "Darwin's creation myth," Atheistic naturalism," "Evolution." I've used several terms for the basic belief that all Life arose by only random, natural processes.

If Darwin is so irrelevant to Neo-Darwinian Evolutionary Theory, then why is he celebrated still? (As an aside, did you know that Darwin's basic philosophy was expounded during the time of the ancient Greek philosophers? I can't recall if it was Plato or Aristotle making mincemeat of it then.)

I expect an equally vigorous (and equally condescending) dispatch sent off straightaway to your website-in-rebuttal, TalkOrigins. They seem to misunderstand Darwinism much more deeply than I since not only do they have a FAQ on "Darwinism" in which they use the term -- steady yourself -- fourteen times, but they use some form of Darwin's name FORTY-TWO times on that page alone.

It's a madhouse! A MADHOUSE!*

(*Sorry. I was watching Charlton Heston the other night in -- ironically, enough -- The Planet of the Apes.)

You have so many misconceptions about evolution and science in general

You keep saying that. You've not demonstrated that at all, since I'm neither Kirk Cameron nor any of the other (alleged) Misunderstanderers of Darwinism mocked in your videos.

Requiring observable fact for scientific claims is so . . . medieval, isn't it? Would you respect me if I used the Argument from Invisibility: "Just because we can't see it, doesn't mean it isn't there"?

I had counted on you being able to actually read/watch what I presented, as I was completely ready to do with anything you presented

Anything I presented, except what I actually wrote.

Your need to impugn my character indicates a lack of confidence in your own position.

This comment was edited on Jan 23, 2010, 03:38.
 
"The Christian religion, when ... brought to the original purity and simplicity of it's benevolent institutor, is a religion of all others most friendly to liberty, science, and the freest expansion of the human mind."

Thomas Jefferson, 1801
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154. Re: Op Ed Jan 22, 2010, 19:39 Sepharo
 
This is a bit off topic since this thread has turned overly personal, but I was hoping you could explain the difference (if there is one) between microevolution and "lateral speciation".  
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153. Re: Op Ed Jan 22, 2010, 19:37 Wowbagger_TIP
 
You admit you didn't read or watch more than a small portion of what I linked, so you couldn't possibly know whether they address your claims or not (but they do). Yet you claim they don't anyway and ignore the fact that I even told you it was the second half of that one video that was really most relevant to your claims. The first page I linked on TalkOrigins was a list of claims that contained the very claims you were making. I thought you might be able to figure out how to follow the links that matched your claims. I was mistaken. I later linked directly to explanations and you still don't read them. This is why it's pointless to have this debate with you.

(By the way, you're the one who had to start watching videos to learn what it was that he didn't know about Darwinism.)
I'm the only one of us that was honest about the fact that I wasn't up to speed on all the latest. I'm still doing better than you though, who still refers to modern evolutionary theory as "Darwinism" despite all the changes we've had since his time and all the corrections and additions made to his theories. You have so many misconceptions about evolution and science in general that it should have been obvious from the start that we couldn't have this debate. I had counted on you being able to actually read/watch what I presented, as I was completely ready to do with anything you presented (but try as I might I couldn't get you to present much of anything). Again, my mistake.
 
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"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell (I think...)
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152. Re: Op Ed Jan 22, 2010, 19:17 Amillennialist
 
Wowbagger_TIP wrote on Jan 22, 2010, 14:51:
"blame" indicates moral responsibility. You can't "blame" random, natural processes.
There's more than one definition for that word dude. I realize everything is black and white to you, but try to at least be accepting of common language.

Words having actual definitions is "everything black and white," and that's a bad thing?

Words having meaning can be annoying, especially when one's "proof" for a creation story relies on switching definitions mid-thought. When you were leading an Inquisition into my vocabulary (was that to achieve mutual understanding, or was it to prove the non-Darwinist a fool?) you seemed to think "black and white" was a good thing.

(Yes, "Inquisition" was hyperbole.)

Just so you know, I was not criticizing your use of "blame." Without noting the word's suggestion of moral responsibility, it might appear that I was denying that "nature" is "natural," which would be silly.

From the person who offers Kirk Cameron-hate videos in response to my request for observable fact?
Hate videos? Hyperbole much? The videos criticize his ridiculous straw-man arguments and complete lack of evidence for his claims. How exactly are they "hate videos"?

That was hyperbole. I haven't even watched the videos.

Then we just have more evidence that you haven't read anything I've linked to, or you could explain why you disagree with them.

Is this inaccuracy or dishonesty? I read your link to the Supreme Court decision on a city's right to discriminate on religious displays. I watched your video link long enough to see that it was refuting others' (alleged) misunderstandings and so had nothing to do with me. And your link to TalkOrigins was superfluous; I've known about that site for years (you may recall that I pointed out to you its treatment of macroevolution; by the way, its consensus phylogenetic tree is the epitome of Darwinism's fundamental logical flaw).

It is odd for you to demand that I watch a series of videos which have nothing to do with me or my arguments. If you've found them useful, that's fine. You ought to be able to articulate at least one fact from them that you've found persuasive.

You lack intellectual curiosity and a willingness to read anything that might require you to think about your position.

But I've read your comments.

A person's not wanting to waste his time is not a "lack of intellectual curiosity and an unwillingness to read." It's just not wanting to waste his time.

(By the way, you're the one who had to start watching videos to learn what it was that he didn't know about Darwinism.)

Instead you resort to semantic games and refuse to read anything presented as contrary evidence. Like I said, pointless conversation.

Being literate is not a "semantic" game; neither am I the one using "evolution" eighteen different ways in one sentence.

(Yes, that was hyperbole.)

You dismiss out-of-hand historical and archaeological evidences for events contrary to your religious sentiments, you protest vigorously that just because we can't see something doesn't mean it isn't there, you offer links (purported) to refute other people's misunderstandings but won't address my points, and on a matter of scientific import, you mock the demand for observable fact.

But I "lack intellectual curiosity" "play semantic games," and "refuse to read."

Why don't you address my arguments in your own words, not someone else's. Why don't you state one thing that you know to be true about Darwin's creation myth and how you know it?
 
"The Christian religion, when ... brought to the original purity and simplicity of it's benevolent institutor, is a religion of all others most friendly to liberty, science, and the freest expansion of the human mind."

Thomas Jefferson, 1801
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151. Re: Op Ed Jan 22, 2010, 14:51 Wowbagger_TIP
 
"blame" indicates moral responsibility. You can't "blame" random, natural processes.
There's more than one definition for that word dude. I realize everything is black and white to you, but try to at least be accepting of common language.

From the person who offers Kirk Cameron-hate videos in response to my request for observable fact?
Hate videos? Hyperbole much? The videos criticize his ridiculous straw-man arguments and complete lack of evidence for his claims. How exactly are they "hate videos"?

Then we just have more evidence that you haven't read anything I've linked to, or you could explain why you disagree with them. You lack intellectual curiosity and a willingness to read anything that might require you to think about your position. Instead you resort to semantic games and refuse to read anything presented as contrary evidence. Like I said, pointless conversation.
 
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"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell (I think...)
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150. Re: Op Ed Jan 22, 2010, 13:29 Amillennialist
 
Wowbagger_TIP wrote on Jan 22, 2010, 11:04:
You can't blame either because, if your creation myth is true, my words are the product of only random, natural processes, just like your own.
Yeah, that would be the "nature" part...

"blame" indicates moral responsibility. You can't "blame" random, natural processes.

you may have set a new record for most non sequiturs in a single post.

From the person who offers Kirk Cameron-hate videos in response to my request for observable fact?

That's ironic!

Unlike your websites and videos which "refute" others' alleged misunderstandings, my statements actually follow yours. In one sense, though, you're right.

I've asked for who's actually observed abiogenesis or vertical speciation occur. Your response has been, "Just because we can't see it doesn't mean it isn't happening, and anyway, you're dumb!" Which goes to show that those who hold to the Darwinian creation myth don't appreciate fact following their fiction.

Random mutations normally sicken or kill. Sometimes, they result in speciation. These speciation events, while resulting in reproductive isolation or a change in diet, do not produce a novel, more complex organism, they result in the same kind of creature. We observe Life arising from only Life and Life's programs.

A fossil in the ground is only a fossil in the ground. It shows us nothing about ancestry. Descent is assumed.

Let's see if you can avoid ad hominems, non sequiturs, straw men, and tangents and address those facts.

This comment was edited on Jan 22, 2010, 15:37.
 
"The Christian religion, when ... brought to the original purity and simplicity of it's benevolent institutor, is a religion of all others most friendly to liberty, science, and the freest expansion of the human mind."

Thomas Jefferson, 1801
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149. Re: Op Ed Jan 22, 2010, 11:04 Wowbagger_TIP
 
You can't blame either because, if your creation myth is true, my words are the product of only random, natural processes, just like your own.
Yeah, that would be the "nature" part...

Anyway, very interesting stuff there. I think you may have set a new record for most non sequiturs in a single post.
 
Avatar 9540
 
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell (I think...)
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148. Re: Op Ed Jan 22, 2010, 02:26 Amillennialist
 
Guess you couldn't wait for me to complete my earlier post.

No harm done.
Wowbagger_TIP wrote on Jan 21, 2010, 20:46:
You ignore every bit of evidence I give and then claim that I'm "linking to entire websites" as an excuse for not reading or watching anything, even though most of them were only a couple of paragraphs and the videos were 10 minutes.

Offering entire websites and hours of videos which substitute correlation for causation, speculation for observation, and fallacies for fact is not debate. Imagine if I offered entire websites and hours of videos to you instead of answers. What would be your reaction?

Instead of admitting, "I don't know," or asking, "What do you think?" you attack me for "misunderstanding science." And when I ask for specific, observable vertical speciation events, you say that I "don't know how science works."

Science depends on observable fact, but you say (paraphrasing), "Just because we can't see it doesn't mean it isn't there," and "No, we don't see it now but we might one day." Imagine your reaction if that came out of the mouth of a theist!

Why are you unable to point to specific, observed incidents of either abiogenesis or vertical speciation occurring by only random, natural processes?

Because none exist.

Then you claim I've presented no evidence without even addressing or disputing what I've presented
You can't dispute a link. Besides, it seems to me a bit unreasonable for you to expect me to endure watching videos that begin with ad hominem attacks against others' (alleged) misunderstandings.

You're the one claiming that all Life arose by only random, natural processes. The onus is on you to show that.

your special definition of "observed" which does not match the scientific definition of the word.
So, Science doesn't depend on observable fact?

to make my point about how science works
Because to your way of thinking, if someone doesn't swallow whole Darwin's creation myth, he must be a superstitious neanderthal.

and you completely miss the point and harp on my statement as if it's some sort of proof for your argument.
Thank you for admitting (accidentally) that you said it ("my statement").

If you want to retract, go ahead. But you're going to have to produce peer-reviewed studies showing abiogenesis and vertical speciation occurring by only random, natural processes.

On top of that you ignore any question that I ask that you don't have an answer for.
If I ignore your questions, then how do you know that I don't have answers? Is that more Darwinian "logic"?

Arguing with a creationist is like playing chess with a pigeon . . . ."
All you've got to offer is feathered fecal matter, but not fact.

No wonder you're upset.

This comment was edited on Jan 22, 2010, 12:16.
 
"The Christian religion, when ... brought to the original purity and simplicity of it's benevolent institutor, is a religion of all others most friendly to liberty, science, and the freest expansion of the human mind."

Thomas Jefferson, 1801
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147. Re: Op Ed Jan 22, 2010, 01:43 Amillennialist
 
Wowbagger_TIP wrote on Jan 22, 2010, 01:37:
(That slight discomfort you're experiencing is called, "cognitive dissonance." Perhaps Wowbagger can find a video on that for you.)
Actually I'm pretty sure it's pity, but I'll get over it. Now I just wonder whether to blame nature or nurture for your condition.
You can't blame either because, if your creation myth is true, my words are the product of only random, natural processes, just like your own.

(By the way, the "discomfort" comment was directed to Sepharo.)

Waiting by the telephone, I see.
 
"The Christian religion, when ... brought to the original purity and simplicity of it's benevolent institutor, is a religion of all others most friendly to liberty, science, and the freest expansion of the human mind."

Thomas Jefferson, 1801
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146. Re: Op Ed Jan 22, 2010, 01:37 Wowbagger_TIP
 
(That slight discomfort you're experiencing is called, "cognitive dissonance." Perhaps Wowbagger can find a video on that for you.)
Actually I'm pretty sure it's pity, but I'll get over it. Now I just wonder whether to blame nature or nurture for your condition.
 
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"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell (I think...)
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145. Re: Op Ed Jan 22, 2010, 01:31 Amillennialist
 
Sepharo wrote on Jan 21, 2010, 21:11:
It must be strange to live in a world where the only things that can be accepted as true are those that can be observed in the lifetime of a single man.

So, you're arguing for the validity of history and archaeology as legitimate sources of objective truth! Very good, Sepharo.

Of course, that's not what you meant, is it? At least you're acknowledging tacitly both that I have been asking for actual evidence of abiogenesis and vertical speciation occurring by only random, natural processes and that it does not exist.

In matters relating to actual history, I have been the one in this thread arguing for acknowledging historically-valid documents and the archaeology which supports them. So, no, it is not I who is limiting truth to only that which I've personally experienced.

In matters pertaining to Science, which is founded -- or, should be founded -- on observable fact, I have been the one in this thread pointing out that with respect to Darwin's creation myth, not only was no one present to record what happened in the beginning, but no one today actually observes what should still be occurring (abiogenesis and vertical speciation by only random, natural processes), if it ever occurred at all.

But that doesn't deter the true believer, who persists in: "Just because we can't see it doesn't mean it isn't there!" and, "You don't understand science anyway!"

(Imagine if one of those nut-case theists claimed, "Just because you can't see God doesn't mean he isn't there!" Would either you or Wowbagger reply with, "You know what? He's right. His claim that God is real is just as true as my claim that Man arose from mud by way of maggots and monkeys"?

Of course not.

Such is the unintentional irony of the intellectually-dishonest.

That slight discomfort you're experiencing is called, "cognitive dissonance." Perhaps Wowbagger can find a video on that for you.)

This comment was edited on Jan 22, 2010, 01:46.
 
"The Christian religion, when ... brought to the original purity and simplicity of it's benevolent institutor, is a religion of all others most friendly to liberty, science, and the freest expansion of the human mind."

Thomas Jefferson, 1801
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144. Re: Op Ed Jan 21, 2010, 21:11 Sepharo
 
It must be strange to live in a world where the only things that can be accepted as true are those that can be observed in the lifetime of a single man.  
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143. Re: Op Ed Jan 21, 2010, 20:46 Wowbagger_TIP
 
You ignore every bit of evidence I give and then claim that I'm "linking to entire websites" as an excuse for not reading or watching anything, even though most of them were only a couple of paragraphs and the videos were 10 minutes. Then you claim I've presented no evidence without even addressing or disputing what I've presented, or by claiming that it doesn't fit your special definition of "observed" which does not match the scientific definition of the word. I fell into the trap of going along with your definition for the sake of argument and to make my point about how science works, and you completely miss the point and harp on my statement as if it's some sort of proof for your argument. On top of that you ignore any question that I ask that you don't have an answer for.

I agree that this conversation is over. There's simply no point in it. I've heard it said in other forums that, "Arguing with a creationist is like playing chess with a pigeon. It knocks over all the pieces, craps on the board and then flies home to its flock to declare victory." This applies to anyone that rejects science or redefines it to fit their own needs. Maybe it was presumptuous of me to think I could do it. Learned my lesson, that's for sure.

This comment was edited on Jan 21, 2010, 20:47.
 
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"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell (I think...)
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142. Re: Op Ed Jan 21, 2010, 19:04 Amillennialist
 
I haven't been the one scrambling for videos to figure what it is that I didn't know about Darwinism. I'm not the one throwing out links to entire websites instead of providing concrete, specific facts or answering direct questions. I've not had any trouble with terms. When you've asked me to define what I mean, I've explained.

I'm comfortable with the accepted definitions for evolution, macroevolution, microevolution, speciation, vertical speciation, lateral speciation, and the rest. I've just been pointing out that in order for the Darwinian creation myth to be true, you have to have both abiogenesis and vertical speciation occurring by only random, natural processes, neither of which anyone's ever witnessed.

I have not attributed to you anything you didn't actually write. You did admit that no one's observed vertical speciation occur by only random, natural processes in the second quote listed (as indicated by the words "vertical speciation" enclosed in brackets following it).

When you claim that I "simply showed that you either didn't understand the context and/or basic scientific principles or you are deliberately trying to misconstrue my statements," it should be easy to prove. Any honest person can verify for themselves whether or not I misrepresented your words by going back through your posts in this thread from first to last.

You simply showed that you either didn't understand the context and/or basic scientific principles or you are deliberately trying to misconstrue my statements.
When you discuss "common descent and not evolution per se," you are switching the meanings of terms. "Evolution," as paradigm/worldview/creation myth is not the same as observable change ("evolution"). Is that just sloppy thinking or is it intentional obfuscation?

You can switch meanings midstream if you like -- I don't mind -- but don't accuse me of not defining terms or -- absurdly -- "misunderstanding science" when you're the one doing it.

On a related note, you accuse me falsely of taking your quotes "out of context," but then immediately admit that "almost all of them address abiogenesis, not macroevolution," which is what I wrote, even going so far as to explicitly indicate which of your quotations was in response to vertical speciation.

Even in your denial you admit again, "just because we haven't yet observed something doesn't mean we won't." I'm not arguing that you can't look for Life arising from non-life by only random, natural processes. I'm not arguing that the Scientific Method can't be applied in doing so. I am pointing out that no one's ever observed it occur.

You can say all you want that, "even if I were to concede that macroevolution has never been directly observed, that's not evidence against it, as direct observation is not something that is necessarily expected," but it's not only nonsense, it's hypocritical.

It's not intellectually honest to claim that "just because no one's ever observed it, doesn't mean it isn't occurring." (By the way, I've not denied that aspect of macroevolution which we can observe -- speciation events resulting in reproductive isolation, "lateral speciation" -- I've been asking you who in the history of Man has ever seen a unicellular prokaryote evolve into a multicellular eukaryote? A light-sensitive spot change into an eye? A maggot transition into a mouse into a Man?

All those "evidences" to which you point in support of vertical speciation are assumed to be proof of descent when in fact, all we have are observed similarities in genetic code, structure, or function. You cannot assume that correlation equals causation.

You ask, "What kind of changes could take place in 1000 years, or 100,000, or a million?" I ask what kind of changes do we observe taking place? You're speculating, I'm asking for observable fact.

When you claim that, "Even simple geographic isolation of two groups of the same species can lead to divergence into distinct species over time. Fossil evidence supports this," do you realize what you're doing? You're taking speciation resulting in reproductive isolation as evidence that less complex forms evolve into more complex forms, but the critter's still the same kind of critter.

I'd like to thank you for admitting a second time that what I wrote was accurate, even though you do so in the context of claiming that what I was writing wasn't accurate. In declaring that, "you apparently can't understand that the videos weren't tailored to your specific arguments," you confirm what I've been pointing out: You have not been responding to my words, you've been offering videos in response to others' words.

With regard to your straw men videos: When you state that I "may or may not hold that position," then you're admitting that you're not responding to my argument but someone else's. One definition of "straw man argument" reads:

To "attack a straw man" is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by substituting a superficially similar proposition (the "straw man"), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position."

I'll ask again: Who's witnessed random, natural processes result in newer, more complex genetic program, structure, and function? Who's seen a unicellular prokaryote evolve into a eukaryote? A lizard grow feathers? A monkey change into a man? A light-sensitive spot develop into an eye? You can't cite observation of lateral speciation as evidence of vertical speciation. Neither are similarities in code, form, or function evidences of descent.

And, ironically, I'm not suffering from a "fundamental misunderstanding of science," I'm pointing out that the Darwinists' worldview -- atheistic naturalism -- is a fundamentally-flawed, illogical paradigm.

This comment was edited on Jan 22, 2010, 02:45.
 
"The Christian religion, when ... brought to the original purity and simplicity of it's benevolent institutor, is a religion of all others most friendly to liberty, science, and the freest expansion of the human mind."

Thomas Jefferson, 1801
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141. Re: Op Ed Jan 21, 2010, 15:22 Wowbagger_TIP
 
the problem is that you claim that random genetic mutations result in newer, more complex program, structure, and function.
I've actually never once said that in this entire conversation, but you've said it several times and are apparently now attributing it to me. I've claimed that they result in genetic change, which is the definition of evolution. I've also linked you to the site where it quite plainly defines evolution.

You're arguing that from some sort of hypothetical unicellular prokaryotic ancestor common to all Life, Man evolved ("prokaryotic" because since your starting point is a machine arising by accident from the mud, the simpler, the better).

You're obfuscating on this point because -- as you've admitted (see point number two) -- no one's ever observed that occur.
The theory of common descent is what you're referring to here, not evolution per se. Of course it would be impossible to directly observe the origin of life, but the theory of common descent is supported by the evidence and I've seen no evidence that disproves it thus far. Since that's how science works, if you'd like to disprove it, I'd suggest you find some evidence against it.

You deny that you've admitted that no one's observed either abiogenesis or vertical speciation/macroevolution occur by only random, natural processes.

The only problem is, that's just not true. Following are statements made by you in this thread stating explicitly (or implying) that no one has observed abiogenesis or vertical speciation occur by only random, natural processes:
--Quotes snipped--
Wow, that's quite a list of quotes taken out of context, especially since almost all of them address abiogenesis, not macroevolution. Most were simply an attempt to get you to understand the fundamental idea that just because we haven't yet observed something doesn't mean we won't. If you've got a potentially falsifiable theory, then you keep working to test various hypotheses in support of it until you either disprove it or you exhaust the hypotheses that can be tested. At that point, the theory isn't necessarily invalidated, but simply has to rest on current evidence and be compared to any other theories that may possibly have more conclusive evidence. My point is that even if I were to concede that macroevolution has never been directly observed, that's not evidence against it, as direct observation is not something that is necessarily expected. Again, this is clearly explained in the links I provided.

Similarly, into what have Lenski's E. Coli evolved? E. Coli.
Are you seriously trying to equate 20 years of experimentation with millions of years of evolution? That experiment was only 20 years old at that point. What kind of changes could take place in 1000 years, or 100,000, or a million? Simple changes like what he observed could allow populations of the bacteria to live in different environments, where they will undergo further change and selection for that environment, causing them to diverge further from the original parent organism. Are you suggesting there's some barrier to such changes? None has ever been found, and there is a huge amount of fossil evidence that shows that these changes do occur, albeit over very long periods of time. Even simple geographic isolation of two groups of the same species can lead to divergence into distinct species over time. Fossil evidence supports this.

What evidence do you have that contradicts macroevolution? Saying that we haven't observed it directly doesn't contradict the theory because it doesn't say that we should be able to observe it directly.

4) I'm not "conflating" abiogenesis and vertical speciation; I bring up both because both are central to the atheistic naturalist's creation myth. Naturally (pun intended), Darwinists flee abiogenesis because, unlike vertical speciation, there's no actual, observable fact lending itself to easy misrepresentation as evidence for something else.
Nobody is fleeing abiogenesis. We know it happened, we just don't yet know how. Science can admit when it doesn't know something. That said, evolution doesn't depend on any particular theory of abiogenesis, so they aren't as linked as you seem to think. Any existing theory or something else completely could be responsible for abiogenesis, even magic. It really doesn't matter to the discussion of evolution.

It's obvious that you've spent a good deal of time discovering from your videos what it is you didn't know you knew about Darwinism. It's too bad that those pieces only reinforce both your tendency to attack what others think rather than what I write

I'll assume that you're referring to the modern theories of evolution and common descent when you say "Darwinism". The videos address a wide range of claims because there is a very large number of apologists out there all making different arguments. The videos try to address the prominent ones. So, while you apparently can't understand that the videos weren't tailored to your specific arguments, and therefore are not presenting straw men, they do provide the basic information that rebuts your arguments as well, if you watch them all the way through.

and the unfounded, wild leaps of logic from observation of reproductive isolation to the fairy tale that Man arose from mud by way of maggots and monkeys.
There's no logical leap. The evidence is there if you read it.

Notice that when I pointed out an ad hominem, you changed "ad hominem attack" into just "attack" and then protested your innocence (perhaps you misunderstood the phrase "ad hominem attack" to mean an attack and an ad hominem; I just meant just an ad hominem):
Ahh, back to that again. Once again, it was not an ad hominem by any stretch of the word. At worst is was a conditional straw-man that attributed an argument to you that you weren't making. Since I prefaced that attribution with the note that you may or may not hold that position, I was deliberately attempting to prevent it being taken as a straw man. Since you claim not to be making the same argument that other Christians do, then my response to that argument could obviously be discounted because it only applied based on the condition that you held that belief. Why is that so hard to understand?

I've shown that you have admitted previously that we have observed neither abiogenesis nor vertical speciation occur by only random, natural processes. If you won't admit now something obvious, if you won't deal with my actual words and not video straw men, then we cannot have a conversation.
As I noted earlier you certainly did not show that. You simply showed that you either didn't understand the context and/or basic scientific principles or you are deliberately trying to misconstrue my statements.

Though you denied it previously, your coreligionists do consider vertical speciation by only random, natural processes to be a "fact." Following is your website-in-rebuttal. In one fell swoop, the fact of lateral speciation is misrepresented as evidence for also vertical speciation:
If that statement was the sole evidence for macroevolution, then you'd be correct. As we both know by now (assuming you even glanced at the links above in this post), that's not remotely the case.

By the way, "atheistic naturalism" (couldn't find it in a Google search or in one of your videos, I noticed) refers to a worldview that limits a priori all explanations of observable phenomena to only the natural, whether or not a particular observable phenomenon is actually natural in origin.
Essentially you've got a fundamental misunderstanding of science here. Please correct it.

This comment was edited on Jan 21, 2010, 15:27.
 
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"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell (I think...)
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140. Re: Op Ed Jan 21, 2010, 04:11 Amillennialist
 
A few observations . . .

1) A light sensitive spot is less complex than a human eye. A Man is more complex than a maggot. Do you agree with either of those assertions?

The issue is not my definition of "complex" (your coreligionists can't agree; I'm using the word in its normal sense of "composed of many parts"), the problem is that you claim that random genetic mutations result in newer, more complex program, structure, and function. You're arguing that from some sort of hypothetical unicellular prokaryotic ancestor common to all Life, Man evolved ("prokaryotic" because since your starting point is a machine arising by accident from the mud, the simpler, the better).

You're obfuscating on this point because -- as you've admitted (see point number two) -- no one's ever observed that occur.

2) You deny that you've admitted that no one's observed either abiogenesis or vertical speciation/macroevolution occur by only random, natural processes.

The only problem is, that's just not true. Following are statements made by you in this thread stating explicitly (or implying) that no one has observed abiogenesis or vertical speciation occur by only random, natural processes:

"No, nobody has proven that abiogenesis happened and that's where life came from."

"the fact that a few decades of research have not yet been able to show what is theorized to have happened over the course of hundreds of millions of years [vertical speciation] is not terribly surprising. We obviously haven't figured it out yet."

"there are lots of things that we have theories about that we've never observed."

"Maybe we'll find them, or maybe we'll end up with new theories."

"The point is that just because it hasn't been seen or figured out yet doesn't mean it won't be"

"[Me:] There's as much empirical evidence for a giant bunny hatching the universe as Darwin's Creation Myth . . . [You:] Or for the Flying Spaghetti Monster or the giant turtle or for Zeus or any other god. Not a shred for any of them."

"Again, we know that abiogenesis happened. It had to have happened. At one time there was no life on earth. Now there is. We just don't know how it happened"

"since we haven't yet observed this process in its entirety"

"What science is attempting to do is determine how life can form from non-life. Assuming it finds some way that this can happen, and assuming that the conditions are similar to what we believe they were like around the time life formed on earth, that would be a solid theory."

"because we haven't yet figured it out"

"So, no, science isn't going to provide absolute proof that a specific method of creating life from non-life is how life began on earth. Rest easy knowing that."

"I suspect they'll eventually be able to lay out, in excruciating detail, exactly how life can arise from non-life, or possibly more than one way. This won't prove that that's how it originally happened, because you can't prove something like that"

"that's why they're working on experiments to get them closer and closer to being able to figure out the kind of scenario that could bring about life, at which time they'll be able to observe it. We'll never be able to observe the original origin of life"

"nobody is asserting anything as "true", and specifically science is not addressing the origin of man, just a possible way for life to arise from non-life. This would support a theory of how life may have arisen on earth. It doesn't prove that it actually happened that way."

"That's how science works though. They don't pretend to have all the answers [to abiogenesis by only random, natural processes] from the start . . . So, while they don't have all the answers"

"Are you talking about abiogenesis here again? I've already explained that . . . There's no real consensus on which hypothesis for how life began is correct"

3) The speciation events we observe in the real world result in reproductive isolation, not reptiles growing feathers, rodents changing into dogs, or unicellular prokaryotes evolving into multicellular eukaryotes.

Darwin's finches had evolved into a new "species," but into what had they changed? Finches. That was a speciation event, but it was lateral speciation, not vertical.

Similarly, into what have Lenski's E. Coli evolved? E. Coli.

4) I'm not "conflating" abiogenesis and vertical speciation; I bring up both because both are central to the atheistic naturalist's creation myth. Naturally (pun intended), Darwinists flee abiogenesis because, unlike vertical speciation, there's no actual, observable fact lending itself to easy misrepresentation as evidence for something else.

5) It's obvious that you've spent a good deal of time discovering from your videos what it is you didn't know you knew about Darwinism. It's too bad that those pieces only reinforce both your tendency to attack what others think rather than what I write and the unfounded, wild leaps of logic from observation of reproductive isolation to the fairy tale that Man arose from mud by way of maggots and monkeys.

6) Going back through your comments for an earlier point, I found another exchange indicative of this conversation. (And yes, ignoring my points but instead talking about Christians, Young-Earthers, Creationists, and Kirk Cameron is, by definition, engaging in argumentum ad hominem.)

Notice that when I pointed out an ad hominem, you changed "ad hominem attack" into just "attack" and then protested your innocence (perhaps you misunderstood the phrase "ad hominem attack" to mean an attack and an ad hominem; I just meant just an ad hominem):

[You:] How is suggesting that you may (note that the statement is conditional) hold a belief held by many Christians considered an ad-hominem attack?

{Me:] It's not addressing my argument, but me.

[You:] Simply addressing the possibility that you may hold a certain belief common to Christians is certainly not an attack. I'm not sure why you'd perceive it that way.

7) I've shown that you have admitted previously that we have observed neither abiogenesis nor vertical speciation occur by only random, natural processes. If you won't admit now something obvious, if you won't deal with my actual words and not video straw men, then we cannot have a conversation.

8) Though you denied it previously, your coreligionists do consider vertical speciation by only random, natural processes to be a "fact." Following is your website-in-rebuttal. In one fell swoop, the fact of lateral speciation is misrepresented as evidence for also vertical speciation:

On the one hand there is the question of whether or not modern organisms have evolved from older ancestral organisms or whether modern species are continuing to change over time. On the other hand there are questions about the mechanism of the observed changes... how did evolution occur? Biologists consider the existence of biological evolution to be a fact.

9) By the way, "atheistic naturalism" (couldn't find it in a Google search or in one of your videos, I noticed) refers to a worldview that limits a priori all explanations of observable phenomena to only the natural, whether or not a particular observable phenomenon is actually natural in origin.

This comment was edited on Jan 21, 2010, 05:23.
 
"The Christian religion, when ... brought to the original purity and simplicity of it's benevolent institutor, is a religion of all others most friendly to liberty, science, and the freest expansion of the human mind."

Thomas Jefferson, 1801
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139. Re: Op Ed Jan 19, 2010, 16:19 Wowbagger_TIP
 
And you're unable (or unwilling) to state which is more complex in terms of its program, structure, and function: a light-sensitive spot or the human eye, an insect's six fused ganglia or the human brain, a bacterium or a human being.
No, I'm saying that you have yet to explain an objective way of determining complexity. What's the basis for your argument? If I bring you any two similar animals, how do you determine which is more complex?

You say earlier:
No one's observed Life arise from non-life or newer, more complex genetic program, structure, or function arise by only random, natural processes (which you admit). We observe Life arise only from Life and Life's programs.
Which is, again, trying to conflate abiogenesis with evolution. Two different things. As far as evolution is concerned, it doesn't matter if the first form of life just miraculously poofed into being. It only covers what happened after that.

Based not on what I write, but on Kirk Cameron-phobic videos.
No, it's based entirely on what you write, and the video I linked directly addresses your claims about macroevolution. I don't know why you keep claiming that I admit that it's never been observed. I haven't admitted that, and I still don't think we're even defining the term in the same way. The fossil record is full of evidence of speciation. That's observation right there. You say that it's just assumed, but I think that's ridiculous. Do you have a better explanation for the existence of all of these intermediate organisms that doesn't involve magic and is consistent with all the physical and experimental evidence?

Another video knocking down straw men and mocking Creationists? Another video assuming that similarities in genetic code and physical structures and their functions are evidences of descent? Another video mistaking correlation for causation?
The video directly addresses macroevolution, how it happens and the evidence for it. There are no straw man arguments here. If there are creationists making those claims, which there are, then they are, by definition, NOT straw man arguments. Some creationists deserve mocking as they are knowingly spreading deception for their own gain. Some have gone to jail for fraud and other crimes.

Another video assuming that similarities in genetic code and physical structures and their functions are evidences of descent? Another video mistaking correlation for causation?
If you have a better system for determining heritage than genetics, please propose it. Then we can test yours against it. Do you perhaps have evidence that the practice of genetics produces incorrect results? Maybe paternity tests are just guesses? DNA evidence, even when collected properly, is unreliable? Surely you have some evidence, right?

Haven't you read your own website-in-rebuttal (TalkOrigins)? It has a well-known section on macroevolution (perhaps you'll mention it to Sepharo). Doesn't at least one of your videos discuss it?
I haven't read the entire website, no. The section on macroevolution does explain this as well though, and includes evidence too. I felt that a 10 minute summary video would certainly be quicker. Since you can't even make it more than a few minutes into any of these videos though, I wonder how you ever managed to read even the macroevolution section of the website. Did you even read it? Which points are you disputing?

You didn't ask me to define the processes by which species arise. You asked me to define my terms, which is what I did.
No you didn't. You defined two of them, and asked questions about complexity rather than defining it or your method of measuring it. In your definition of lateral speciation, you introduce another new term, "kind". Now you need to explain what that means, and how to objectively determine what "kind" of organism something is. Why can't creationists agree on what "kind" of organism many of the transitional species are?

I also thought your definition of vertical speciation was enlightening:
The gradual (punctuated? You guys keep changing your stories) progression from the first living cell(s) through all (alleged) intermediate species to Man would be vertical speciation (I've seen the term "macroevolution" used also). You've got to get from the first (accidental, miraculous) cell(s) with which whatever genetic program it (magically) arose to newer, more complex organisms. No one's ever observed that, which you admit.

The changing of stories is kind of how science works. Unlike religion, it depends on constant corrections to make it more accurate rather than assuming everything is 100% correct from the start. I was actually surprised at how much has changed since my biology courses in college. The rise of cladistics and phylogenetics to largely replace linnaean classification was a big one. Tons of new fossil discoveries and even more evidence for evolution since then too. The fundamentals are still the same, but there's been a lot of progress in how we look at the relationships between organisms and in filling in a lot of the blanks. I had a lot of catching up to do, and there's still a ton of reading that I want to get to on this subject. You wonder why I offer a link to a website as a rebuttal, but considering how much information and evidence there is, it takes a website to present it in any sort of coherent manner. I'm certainly not going to post it all here. That's what the web is for!

No one's ever observed that, which you admit.
I really don't think I've admitted what you think I've admitted, because that makes no sense. Of course macroevolution has been observed. It's all over the place in the fossil record. It's even been observed in fish and insects in nature and in the lab. What exactly are you saying has not been observed? Which of the specific predictions in the article you linked to are you disputing and why?

This comment was edited on Jan 19, 2010, 18:19.
 
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138. Re: Op Ed Jan 19, 2010, 04:08 Amillennialist
 
Wowbagger_TIP wrote on Jan 19, 2010, 00:05:
No, I didn't miss it. But while you continued to use those terms, you have yet to define them. How do you measure that complexity or program, structure, function, etc? How do you tell which of two species is more complex in those terms?

So, rather than address my arguments or, better yet, supply actual, observable fact showing your creation myth to be true, you want to imply that I don't understand the words I use.

And you're unable (or unwilling) to state which is more complex in terms of its program, structure, and function: a light-sensitive spot or the human eye, an insect's six fused ganglia or the human brain, a bacterium or a human being.

Perhaps you've heard of flight (bug, bird, or Brothers Wright, all are impressive), the opposable thumb, or sudoku? (Yes, I know lower forms -- do I have to define "lower"? -- have opposable thumbs, but if that muddies the waters too much in identifying which is more complex, a man or an ape, then just answer this question: Who's made films about the others' ascendancy?)

I also think that you're completely misunderstanding how new species arise in the first place

Based not on what I write, but on Kirk Cameron-phobic videos.

which is why I want to know how you define "vertical speciation" or "macroevolution" and why you put the word "species" in quotes. I'm pretty sure that your definition doesn't match the actual process by which new species develop.

Another video knocking down straw men and mocking Creationists? Another video assuming that similarities in genetic code and physical structures and their functions are evidences of descent? Another video mistaking correlation for causation?

Haven't you read your own website-in-rebuttal (TalkOrigins)? It has a well-known section on macroevolution (perhaps you'll mention it to Sepharo). Doesn't at least one of your videos discuss it?

You didn't ask me to define the processes by which species arise. You asked me to define my terms, which is what I did.

"Species" is in quotation marks because there is a vast, qualitative difference between random mutations resulting in reproductive isolation and random mutations resulting in bacteria "evolving" into multi-cellular eukaryotes, light-sensitive spots "evolving" into an eagle's eye, or a bundle of neurons "evolving" into a human brain.

We observe the former, not the latter.
 
"The Christian religion, when ... brought to the original purity and simplicity of it's benevolent institutor, is a religion of all others most friendly to liberty, science, and the freest expansion of the human mind."

Thomas Jefferson, 1801
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137. Re: Op Ed Jan 19, 2010, 00:05 Wowbagger_TIP
 
No, I didn't miss it. But while you continued to use those terms, you have yet to define them. How do you measure that complexity or program, structure, function, etc? How do you tell which of two species is more complex in those terms?

I also think that you're completely misunderstanding how new species arise in the first place, which is why I want to know how you define "vertical speciation" or "macroevolution" and why you put the word "species" in quotes. I'm pretty sure that your definition doesn't match the actual process by which new species develop.
 
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"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell (I think...)
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136. Re: Op Ed Jan 18, 2010, 23:23 Sepharo
 
I searched for "lateral speciation" and the top results were Bluesnews and Amillennialist's blog.  
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