Given that you are a ______________________ (your particular informative specialty, background &/or theological/worldview approach to the topic), what would be the first question(s) you’d like to ask to start a discussion on the topic of the origins of life and the origins of human beings if you could ask:
1) A person who is confused about why people use their precious free time to join websites & forums (such as this one), chat sites, groups, on-line meetings rooms, and listserves, who attend conferences, workshops, presentations and talks delivered about origins & processes of natural & human history, including monumental & meaningful topics involving science, philosophy & theology/worldview discourse.
2) An atheist or agnostic who thinks evolutionary biology, the ‘Evolutionary Epic’ (as in E.O. Wilson, D.S. Wilson, Connie Barlow, et al.) &/or evolutionism as an ideology that buttresses their personal worldview, makes it very difficult if not impossible to believe in the Creator-God attested to in Abrahamic monotheistic scriptures and institutions.
On another blog/forum a interesting point came up that is always relevant in the great Creation-Evolution Revolution discussions of our times.
Always, creationists, get thrown at us that the experts/scientists decide what is true about the biological, geological, cosmological origins for the universe. THEN they invoke arguments as if to persuade the public based on the merits of the evidence.
Creationists and good guys everywhere ae offered authority and then arguments in a contradictory way.
It is not often that I encounter a book which forces me to undergo a fundamental rethink on a vital issue. Michael Alter’s The Resurrection: A Critical Inquiry is one such book. The issue it addresses is whether the New Testament provides good evidence for Jesus’ Resurrection from the dead. Prior to reading Michael Alter’s book, I believed that a Christian could make a strong case for Jesus’ having been raised from the dead, on purely historical grounds. After reading the book, I would no longer espouse this view. Alter has convincingly demolished Christian apologists’ case for the Resurrection – and he’s got another book coming out soon, which is even more hard-hitting than his first one, judging from the excerpts which I’ve read.
Most readers of TSZ are probably familiar with the ongoing debate about the supposed genomic evidence that makes it scientifically impossible that the human lineage could have ever passed through a population bottleneck of just two individuals, Adam and Eve, as per Abrahamic beliefs…
The population genetics assumption is that Adam and Eve could NOT have been the only two contributors to the human pool of genes. The supporters of evolution and experts in population genetics say that the evidence points to at least 10 000 individuals and therefore the biblical description of the act of creation of a pair of two humans must be wrong and therefore the theory of evolution must be right… something like that…
Most of readers are probably familiar with population genetics pros and cons. I could contribute a few of my own, such as: What is the evidence that mutation rate observed in humans today equals the mutation rate (if any) of Adam and Eve after they sinned or after the bottleneck of Noah +7 people? It is obviously assumed… This is a typical example how ideology drives so-called science or how it pollutes it. However, this is not the main point of my OP.
I think this issue is well overdue at TSZ. I have quoted professor Lewontin’s well known statement on another OP that received some mixed feelings. To me, at least, it sheds doubt as to how science is done vs how it is supposed to be done…
Judge it for yourself:
I have recently realized that The Skeptical Zone blog has had its 7th year anniversary…
Since Dr. Liddle has return, at least temporarily, I thought it could be a great opportunity to evaluate what the goal of TSZ was, when it opened for business over 7 years ago, and whether such goal(s) have been accomplished, if any…
” My name is Elizabeth Liddle, and I started this site to be a place where people could discuss controversial positions about life, the universe and everything with minimal tribal rancour (pay no attention to the penguins….)Continue reading →
TSZ commenter walto published a paper this year in the Journal of Philosophy entitled Epistemic Closure, Home Truths, and Easy Philosophy. Unfortunately, the paper isn’t free — if you want to read it, you’ll either need to pay for it yourself or get it via institutional access (if you’re fortunate enough to have that.)
Statement from administrator team: This post is in violation of site rules, that we should discuss the message, not the poster of the message.
In the interest of transparency, we are making the post public. We want to be clear that the administrator team does not agree with the accusations made in the post. Our initial reaction was to make the post private, to give us time to review the situation. We are now making it public again, but comments are closed for this topic. If the original author of this post requests that we make it private once again, that will be considered.
We have kept Elizabeth informed of what we are doing. And she has given one brief email response, which I am taking as tacit approval of our initial reaction.
Original title: Swamidass caught lying at PeacefulScience.org
If you need some entertainment, here’s a story that follows a familiar Uncommon Descent plot line:
Charlatan lies; charlatan gets caught; charlatan digs the hole deeper; gets caught some more; and charlatan, in desperation, finally bans the messenger.
In this case the charlatan is Joshua Swamidass, the blog is PeacefulScience.org, and the ban is for a week, not permanent. But it’s basically the same old UD story.
It starts here. I hope the comments don’t get deleted. Given the recent censorship kerfuffle there, Swamidass will be feeling pressure not to delete them. But the evidence is pretty damning, and it will be painful for him to leave them in place. We’ll see what happens.
Jonathan Wells, who is an embryologist and an ID advocate, has a very interesting paper and video on the issue of ontogeny (embryo development) and the origins of information needed in the process of cell differentiation…
Wells thinks that a major piece of information needed in the process of embryo development can’t be explained by DNA, and therefore may require an intervention of an outside source of information, such as ID/God…
If you don’t want to watch the whole video, starting at about 40 min mark is just as good but especially at 43 min.
Evolution “…isas much a fact as the heat of the sun…”– Richard Dawkins
Unfortunately, what evolution no doubt is missing to be such a fact is the actual proof that evolution can do what its supporters claim it has done and can do…
Simply pointing to a fully developed organism and saying – “evolution did” – is just as good a claim as saying – “God did it, or ID must have done it”- unless there is some kind of falsifiability for the claims…Otherwise, such claims remain in the realm of optimism bias, blind faith, or simply science-fiction…and give science bad name at the same time…
There are just as many interpretations of this supposed weirdness that QM presents scientists with…Some say that we don’t know enough about TIME…Others say there is no such thing as time; at least on quantum level…
Though initially opposed or uncomfortable to with the problems QM presented him with, Einstein, just before he died, made the following statement about TIME itself.
Einstein once wrote, in a letter to comfort the widow of a recently deceased friend, “Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”
This video outlines and explores the philosophical and scientific history of the idealism vs materialism, and shows how the scientific evidence much better fits idealism – meaning, that everything we experience as physical reality is the result of the processing of information via a nonphysical mind (outside of space-time). I think the big problem with this perspective is that it not only challenges various forms of materialism; it also challenges many religious perspectives – at least in terms of what the fundamental nature of our existence is.
IMO, one of the interesting implications (not expressed in the video) is that if what we actually experience is indeed generated by mental processing, feedback loops could be a normal, even essential aspect of our experience. IOW, if you believe in and process information from a particular ideological/personal perspective (we all do), it may be that the experiential reality you encounter is actually being physically (not just psychologically) sustained and supported as a result of having those views and beliefs.
One wonders what the limitations would be if our “reality” experience is determined by mental processing of information (both conscious and subconscious).
The question of the purpose of life has preoccupied philosophers, poets, thinkers and the like, for thousands of years. Clearly, it’s a tricky one. It is surprising that pharmaceutical companies have not addressed this issue… yet… 🙂
From the materialistic/atheistic/evolutionary perspective, the answer to this question is clear: Since the universe and life are the products of purposeless, random processes, life itself has no purpose or meaning either…
While materialists could argue that it is still possible to find some kind of meaning in life, in the end there doesn’t seem to be an ultimate purpose in life without some kind of hope that theistic supporters look forward to…
Many recent, and not so recent, suicides of celebrities, stirred up some questions whether humanity is actually progressing, or evolving, especially when the noticeable increase of mental health issues is taken into consideration, such as depression or anxiety disorders that often lead to suicidal thoughts and suicide…
My question is: How does suicide fit into the evolutionary theory?
How does suicide fit into the deterministic notion popular among many evolutionists and materialists who claim that humans have no free will?
“Humans, like all animals, are designed to pass along genes to the next generation. But ending your own life means, in stark evolutionary terms, cutting off, or harming your future reproductive success. When young people kill themselves, their genes are eliminated from the gene pool; when adults kill themselves they can no longer care for dependent children; when elderly people kill themselves, they, too, abdicate the role of caring parent for the next generations.”
So, suicide, even thoughts of suicide, makes no sense, at least from an evolutionary point of view…
It is generally believed that the heart acts as a pressure pump forcing an inert fluid through the lungs and through the bodily tissues and organs. There is evidence that this is not the case and that it is more accurate to view the heart as an organ which regulates the dynamic activity of the blood. Continue reading →
Ever since the implications of quantum entanglement between particles became unavoidable for physicists and cosmologists, the doubt of the accuracy or completeness of Einstein’s general and special theory of relativity became real… Einstein himself called quantum entanglement “spooky action at a distance” because the possibility of faster than speed of light transfer of information between two entangled particles (no matter what distance between them) would violate relativity and the fundamentals of one of the most successful theories in science…
Recently, however, several experiments have confirmed that entanglement is not only real but it seems to violate relativity.
The results of the first experiment have provided the speed of entanglement, which was measured to be at least 10.000 times faster than the speed of light. here
Spektor’s summary of the study’s findings is sobering:
The results, as you might expect, were generally pretty grim. Of four common “trajectories” for energy-intense civilizations, three ended in apocalypse. The fourth scenario — a path that involved converting the whole alien society to sustainable sources of energy — worked only when civilizations recognized the damage they were doing to the planet, and acted in the right away.
“The last scenario is the most frightening,” [leading study author Adam] Frank said. “Even if you did the right thing, if you waited too long, you could still have your population collapse.”
But a model is only as good as the foundation upon which it is built. And it turns out that Frank’s model is built on a foundation of sand. Continue reading →
The term “supernatural” comes up on this and other boards and in similar discussion forums from time to time and I have come to the conclusion that there can be no such thing. Or, at the very least, if there really is something that could be accurately labeled as supernatural, such would have to be completely beyond understanding by anything (like we humans) that is not supernatural.
As an example, I’ve been studying quantum entanglement a bit. Pretty weird phenomenon from the perspective of those of us in a non-quantum, macro dimension. Very difficult to conceptualize how certain particle states could possibly be correlated, but correlated they are. So is this correlation “supernatural”? I certainly would not define it that way and I know of no physicists who would either.
The point is, even if one really believes that something like entanglement – a repeatably verifiable and investigatible phenomenon – has a supernatural basis, what could possibly be understood about that supernatural component? How could it be verified at all and what could investigating it add to any kind of understanding about…oh…anything?
So for those of you who do believe there is something that can be classified as supernatural, I’m just curious as to what supernatural means to you and what type of event or phenomenon would indicate to you that something is supernatural.