Hi everyone, sorry I can’t reply too quickly but I am quite busy these days. There are some good points you guys made! I will try to address…
“Above in bold is the current understanding/paradigm of evolutionists, but this evolutionary tree is not set in stone. Let me explain. If you DID find an bird with mammary glands, or a whale with feathers in the fossil record, then your understanding of HOW "evolution happened" would change, and so would the diagram. This pursuit of a fossil outside of current paradigms would not falsify evolution, so it is a dead end for creationists, and so you are just dangling a carrot.”
I agree to a point, but there are two important points to make here. The first is that yes, the theory of evolution, like all sciences, can change as new observations are made. This is why I am more inclined to trust it than religious creation accounts - evolution can correct itself it it finds itself to be wrong, and consequently get closer and closer to the truth. Creationism, like any faith based belief, cannot, because once written, the scriptures are forbidden to be changed. If it is wrong at the start it will remain exactly that wrong, forever. Even you cannot escape the conclusion that the vast majority of faith based beliefs are wrong, for you do not believe the creation accounts of the Egyptians, the Norse, the Mayans, the Aboriginal Australians, the Hopi, the Mbombo, the Ngai etc. the list could go on for some time! Seeing as these accounts are all mutually exclusive, you must admit that at the very least most faith based accounts are wrong. And since they must be taken on faith and already have what they believe to be the whole story they do not look for more evidence. I have heard some people argue that science is always changing but the Bible is forever therefore they do not trust science. However while they see the mutability of science as its weakness, I see it as a great strength. Simply put, if you are wrong in science, you can change your mind so that you are right. This is why science and reason gradually get closer and closer to the truth with each new discovery while faith stays exactly the same distance from the truth as it always was, unless of course it happened to be right all along. This is why I distrust faith - not faithful people but the principal of faith itself. I hope I haven't offended Christians here, because I have nothing against people who honestly believe that Christianity is the way because they have weighed up the evidence and really think that it's the best fit. Hey if that's the case I want to hear from them because I might be wrong and in that case I should change my mind! What I don't agree with is the principal of picking a predetermined position and then defending it against any and all evidence to the contrary, and this is as far as I can see, exactly what Creationism is and does. If you think I am wrong here and that Creationism is science, then can you give me an example of how Creationism could change or has changed in the light of a new discovery?
Both creationists and evolutionists make attempts to unlock the truths of an unrepeatable past that was not observed by humans. We do this by examining forensic evidence, and creationists also use historical testimony (as would a court of law in similar circumstances). When there is a discrepancy between the data presented, there is obviously a flaw somewhere, and we differ on where the flaws exist;
Christians believe that the Bible was revealed by God the Author of truth, through human beings, and so it has no flaws. We believe that flaws must exist in human interpretation of the Bible in applying it to scientific truth, and the scientific collection methods, and interpretation of scientific data.
We are justified in believing that the Bible is accurate historical testimony (based on secular historical writings, archaeology, and anthropology). It has also revealed scientific truths thousands of years ago that were not known or even testable until recently. Other holy books cannot withstand such scrutiny.
You reject a supernatural God from the start (which is actually disproved scientifically by the discovery that our universe is finite, therefore requires a cause. Also DNA is a code that stores data, is read, and translated, and codes this complex are always indicative of an intelligent being creating them). Under your presupposition, the Bible is not a revelation, but just a book. You therefore believe that there must be flaws in the Bible, in addition to interpretation of the Bible and scientific collection methods, and interpretation of scientific data. I am not offended by your choice. God saw it fit to give you free will. I just think that you are throwing out the wrong data based on a personal preference to be in charge of your life, instead of a God who knows what is best for you.
Your premise that Creationism needs to change in order to be scientific is false. In order to be scientific, it must be scientifically testable, and it is; many scientific hypotheses are drawn from the testimony of the Bible. Some hypotheses are explicitly stated in the Bible, and would invalidate the claims of the Bible if falsified. Some are based on what some people may think the Bible is implying, and given less certainty. These would just require modification of our understanding/interpretation of the Bible, which has been done before. Many flood models have been posed but they continue to be revised when new data arises. So creationism gives rise to scientifically testable hypotheses, so your claim that “creationism isn’t science” is false.
The second point is that while evolution is changeable, there are some changes that would force so drastic a revision that I don’t think we would even call it the same theory anymore!
I think we are just mincing words here. No, drastic revisions have been made in the past; Darwinian evolution, Lamarckian evolution, neo-Darwinian evolution. There has been gradual evolution, and punctuated equillibrium, yet all have borne the name evolution. The day people stop using the term evolution is the day Jesus Christ returns to earth. I don't see the relevance of this particular discussion point to the overall discussion anymore. I guess we will have to agree to disagree.
“You have essentially prematurely halted investigation (or curiosity) into possible biological functions of these traits in-utero, and stated "these features have no biological purpose" so you can claim victory for evolution. As I pointed out in post #7 this is an argument from ignorance, which is a logical fallacy:”
I called them leftovers yes, but that’s because they look very much like what I would expect a genetic leftover to look. While I fully agree that an argument from ignorance is not a good argument, I disagree that what I said constitutes one.
Your choice to disagree with my statement does not make me wrong, so I wish you had given proof instead of changing the subject (red herring):
Take a hypothetical situation here - suppose every single tenet of evolution was proved wrong tomorrow - mutations were found to be impossible, natural selection was proved not to exist, the earth proved beyond a shadow of a doubt to be 6000 years old and Angels descended from heaven to hand out fresh copies of genesis to everyone in the world (note I am not saying Creationists believe all these things, but it would certainly wreck evolution, which is all I’m trying to suggest here). Now suppose I were to say “Look, I still believe that everything evolved.” You challenge me to justify my claim, and I reply with “We don’t know how it evolved, but if you say it didn’t, that’s just an argument from ignorance!” and while I might technically be right, no-one would take me seriously.
Squirrel?! This hypothetical situation doesn't prove that I used the term wrong. Please point out where in the definition of an argument from ignorance (that I posted last time) that my usage does not fit.
The claim of “argument from ignorance” has its limits. I maintain the burden of proof rests on those making the positive claim, and I would therefore challenge you to come up with a use for the ear muscles in whales which in most mammals are used to move external ears.
Somehow you keep trying to twist this back around on me. Rather than admitting that you are wrong, you posed a new situation, and a new question to change the subject (red herring x 2). If you are asking for a plausible reason that whales have muscles in their head that would normally be found in animals that have ears, in order control those ears, then I would admit I don’t currently know:
Some deep-diving whales, like orcas, can change their internal ear pressure to match the pressure around them, which helps them hear much better.
My ear muscles can change pressure on my ears, causing them to pop, so perhaps ( I really have no expertise, but am asked to pose a guess) the ear muscles have something to do with this changing of internal ear pressure. Do I win the prize?
If I were a biologist researching whales, it would be a good subject to investigate. The burden of proof is on you to prove your positive truth claim that “there is no biological use for these muscles; therefore they are genetic leftovers of evolution”.
“Similarities between different animals and grouping and classifying them is being presented as evidence of evolution. But we could find similarities between all kinds of things on earth and classify them into some kind of tree, despite the fact that they were designed.”
Not in the same way. This is one of the main reasons I don’t think life was designed – if you make a phylogenetic tree out of designed objects it does not look like the tree of life at all. For example, you might start making a tree of cars from the invention of the first car through the early designs of various manufacturers, however I guarantee you they would not fit a hierarchy of derived traits. You might start off with a base form which has an engine, transmission to 2 rear wheels and drum brakes. This could “evolve”, if you like, into a number of early cars which used this setup, each on their own branch of the tree. They continue to evolve as different manufacturers play with their designs. Then, one of the manufacturers invents disk brakes. They’re fitted to one car on one branch of the car tree of life. They are, however, much better than drums and soon every manufacturer is using them in their new models even though their old models didn’t have them. A similar thing happens when air conditioning is invented – it rapidly spreads to all the branches. Real life evolution cannot allow this. It would be like if the first birds evolved feathers and the mammals decided “hey, that’s really good insulation, we should get those too!”. Bats especially would find them useful, however they do not have them. Designers can and do use this method in real life, however evolution could neither produce nor permit it. This is why I don’t think the phylogenetic tree of life looks designed – when we apply the same principals to objects we know have been designed (by humans) it does not work. Phylogeny is one of the ideas I find most convincing about evolution, and for this reason. It looks exactly like a family tree, and not like the artificial trees we can construct from items which were designed.
Poor analogy, but that is not why your assertion doesn't hold up. Your analogy is poor because it is an example of multiple intelligent designers, which is not the Creationist view, we believe in a single designer. Even within a single car company there are multiple designers.
Your assertion doesn't hold up because an intelligent designer could either choose to make completely different creations, or choose to make creations with similarities. Similarities actually allow them to interface/interact/influence each other on many levels (ecological, genetic, molecular) so it makes sense to choose to make creatures with similarities.