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Does Creationism Limit The Mind?


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#1 Adam Nagy

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 05:46 AM

Shpongle and I have been discussing some interesting issues. My educational background keeps coming up as a concern and it made me think of a couple of related questions from this post:

Butterfly Evolution

I've had my ear to the ground of the scientific community and biotech industry for the last half a decade.  I've personally been amazed by the advances in biology, particularly with respect to evolutionary biology.  Seeing things like the advances of genomics and bioinformatics in general, and the application of evolutionary biology to these fields and how they contribute to greater understanding of biological life and usefulness in biological application.


When comparing the evolution philosophy to the other end of young earth creation philosophy the usefulness of evolutionary principles always seem to come up as some, linchpin style necessity, to doing research and getting the work done. However, I don’t see any area of modern science or the scientific method that would suffer from a creation perspective (unless abortion is considered cutting edge science). In fact, God fearing people were the first ones to respect God’s laws in a systematic way.

Butterfly Evolution

Let me ask you point blank:  How much work have you put into learning about the subject of evolutionary biology?


This issue of education comes up regularly. I would like to hear what we, as creationists, are missing from our intellect that makes us suffer, knowledge wise, when engaging in the evolution discussion.

What part of science must suffer if Darwinian (microbes to man) evolution is abandoned? What aspect of our knowledge of biology couldn’t be used from the perspective that sees the adaptation qualities and component similarities of living organisms as design features? I would even argue that evolutionists are the hijackers, smuggling intelligence in through the back door when doing the research and then scrubbing it out when they make their pronouncements about how their discovery pertains to Darwinian Evolution.

Why bother doing this?

#2 Adam Nagy

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 06:02 AM

Butterfly Evolution

  Applying evolutionary context to things like genomics research (i.e. comparative genomics and phylogenomics) actually yields greater level of insight and understanding than raw statistical evaluation alone (which is about the only thing you could do if genomes were designed independently).  Like in my example in the other thread, such an approach led researchers to discover an HIV suppressing protein.  Could they have made the same discovery with a non-evolutionary approach?  A pure statistical one?  Maybe, but possibly not as well.  Everything in literature I've read on genomics and evolutionary biology, suggests that evolutionary approaches are superior.  And they continue to get used day in and day out.

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I think this belongs here as well. What do you mean by “a pure statistical one”? It sounds to me like you are trying to assign a limitation to creationism that does not exist. Can you defend why we would be contradicting the creation perspective without “a pure statistical” approach?

Shpongle,

You had mentioned starting a thread about applied evolution (whatever that is). This would be a great place to bring such things up. If there are things that can only be viewed through Darwin’s made up “observation” and can’t equally be viewed as design features, this would be the place to pull out such arguments.

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 08:32 AM

All evolutionary thinking does is keep bright people who do not accept that dogma from practicing in certain fields, primarily for the fear of accademic and professional retribution if you criticize the established dogma. That's the loss of those professions......

Otherwise; I would be surprised if many engineers, which are as smart as they come accept evolutionary biology as faithfully as the biologists do.

Terry

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 12:03 PM

When comparing the evolution philosophy to the other end of young earth creation philosophy the usefulness of evolutionary principles always seem to come up as some, linchpin style necessity, to doing research and getting the work done. However, I don’t see any area of modern science or the scientific method that would suffer from a creation perspective (unless abortion is considered cutting edge science). In fact, God fearing people were the first ones to respect God’s laws in a systematic way.


What is the "creation perspective"? How would you apply the "creation perspective" to biology? What can you do with? Can you apply it to genetics research? Genomics? Systems biology? Conservation biology?

For example, I've read a lot on phylogenetic trees (i.e. trees of evolutionary relationships) and how these get directly applied to biology. Everything from disease tracking to analisis of whole genomes to identification of new genes.

Can a "creation persective" be applied in the same way?

This issue of education comes up regularly. I would like to hear what we, as creationists, are missing from our intellect that makes us suffer, knowledge wise, when engaging in the evolution discussion.


This is a touchy subject and I'm going to try to approach this carefully. First of all, I want to make clear I don't think creationists are less intelligent than evolutionists or that creationists are incapable of learning or anything like that. Just that in my experience, in general creationists tend to have a far less degree of background knowledge in biology than evolutionists.

For example, on another board where I posted for about a half decade, I encountered all matter of creationists and evolutionists. The subject of credentials and knowledge would come up, to which I don't recall encountering a single creationist in direct discussion who had more than a high-school level knowledge and education in biology. In constrast, while many evolutionists in the forum fell into the same camp, there were also evolutionists who were either post-secondary students studying for degrees, masters or even PhDs in biology, evolutionists with PhDs under their belt already (including some who worked in research labs), and even a couple biology professors.

That to me was very enlightening. You had two groups of people trying to discussion/debate a topic (biological evolution). Yet the general knowledge, formal training and experience on the subject was greatly tilted towards the evolutionists.

And this became very apparent in debates. You'd have creationists show up who had read some anti-evolution articles from AiG or ICR, watched a H*vind video, or heard something from their pastor, try to regurgitate that information as an argument against evolution and then get promptly evicerated in debate by the most experienced and knowledgable evolutionists. In short, it was like bringing a knife to a gun fight.

So my advice to creationists who want to debate/discuss the subject of evolutionary biology: learn it first. If you've only had a cursory high-school level introduction to the subject, then it's not enough. Get some real books on biology and evolutionary biology specifically. Even if you find the topic unpalatable because you disagree with it, learn it anyway. Read journal articles/papers, too. If you don't have access, go visit your library or university.

I'm simply saying this because I've seen plenty of creationists get in way over their heads in these debates/discussions and make statements that reflect a very poor understanding of the subject matter. And that doesn't do them very good at all.

What part of science must suffer if Darwinian (microbes to man) evolution is abandoned?


The last couple decades of genomics research for one.

What aspect of our knowledge of biology couldn’t be used from the perspective that sees the adaptation qualities and component similarities of living organisms as design features?


Phylogenetic trees would go right out the window and all related sciences and applications of which would go right with them.

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 12:18 PM

I think this belongs here as well. What do you mean by “a pure statistical one”? It sounds to me like you are trying to assign a limitation to creationism that does not exist. Can you defend why we would be contradicting the creation perspective without “a pure statistical” approach?


Say you are comparing genomes. You have genomes of three different species (a mouse, a human and a chimp). You want to compare them because understanding differences and similarities between species gives you a greater understanding of how those genomes work.

A statistical approach is just that: it's a basic statistical comparison of these genomes. You align the respective genomes and map out similiarities and differences. That's about it.

In contrast, an evolutionary approach adds a whole new layer of context on the comparison. If you know, for example, the relative evolutionary distances of the species genomes' being compared (i.e. how long ago since they last shared an ancestor), you can make better inferences about the similarities and differences. For example, you can compare regions based on the relative neutral substitution rates and identify regions of evolutionary conservation (and thus, relative importance). You can even analyze regions for different types of selective pressure (positive and negative). This goes back to that example I gave about a analysis of primate genomes and the discovery of that HIV suppressing protein. There are also cases I've read in the past of new genes being discovered from evoltuionary analyses that weren't uncovered from regular comparative approaches. And then there's the whole issue of functional gene annotation with respect to homologous genes (orthologs and paralogs).

Stastitical analysis just by itself doesn't give you any of this. It can point to difference and point to similarities, but that's about it. And if life was genetically engineered seperately (i.e. designed), then such similarities and differences don't really mean anything by themselves. They just are the way they are. But evolutionary analysis puts a contextual constraint on analysis, which in tern allows for more precise inferences about genomes to be made.

You had mentioned starting a thread about applied evolution (whatever that is). This would be a great place to bring such things up. If there are things that can only be viewed through Darwin’s made up “observation” and can’t equally be viewed as design features, this would be the place to pull out such arguments.

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I did: http://www.evolution...?showtopic=1885

#6 jason777

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 01:52 PM

I don't see how it could limit the mind.

Creationists have always said that natural selection cannot create new genetic information(which science supports).

Creationists have always said that genetic mutations are harmful and very rarely beneficial(which science also supports).

All i've heard to the contrary is that it's nothing but a creaionist lie used to fool the gullible and uneducated.Then they point to things like drug resistance,the size of an extict aboreal gorillas head "A. aferensis",dating methods that vary so wildly you can select any date you want to suit your agenda even though the assumptions of the methods themselves have been falsified,the similarity of human and chimp genes while neglecting to tell people that sections of the kangaroo genome are identical to humans,and then they pull their ace in the hole"dogs evolving into dogs".

Thanks.

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 02:02 PM

Creationists have always said that natural selection cannot create new genetic information(which science supports).


I haven't seen anything in scientific literature to support this.

First of all, there's the issue of what is "genetic information"? How do you define it? Can you quantify it? Depending on how you do that will depend on what sort of changes to genomes can result in "increases" or "decreases" of said genetic information. For the most part, most creationists don't seem to ever consider the definition or quantification of information.

That said, most biologists also don't tend to worry about quantifying "information content" of the genome, since it's not a terribly useful thing to measure anyway. More important is what regions of the genome and certain genes actually do.

(I should also add that natural selection doesn't "create" anything by itself. It's merely a mechanism that selects between alternatives. The alternatives, in terms of genetics, are created by genetic mechanisms like gene duplications, point mutations, etc.)

Creationists have always said that genetic mutations are harmful and very rarely beneficial(which science also supports).


Most mutations are neutral. They are rarely beneficial, that is true. Although defining mutations in context of "beneficial" can be tricky, since it's typically relative to selective constraints and the population as a whole. Harmful mutations, on the other hand, can be much easier to spot because they can have a much more immediate impact on individual organisms.

the similarity of human and chimp genes while neglecting to tell people that sections of the kangaroo genome are identical to humans,


I was curious to see where you were getting this bit about kangaroos from. I noticed there are popular press articles about the sequencing of the kangaroo genome, which suggest that gene sequences are similar and there are probably a lot of orthologues shared between humans and kangaroos. But given there is no published data on kangaroo/human sequence comparisons yet, it's premature to conclude how much similarity there is.

I will say this, however. If kangaroos were in general more genetically similar to humans than humans were to chimps, that would turn evolutionary biology on its ear.

#8 jason777

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 02:34 PM

Hi shpongle,

[qoute]I was curious to see where you were getting this bit about kangaroos from. I noticed there are popular press articles about the sequencing of the kangaroo genome, which suggest that gene sequences are similar and there are probably a lot of orthologues shared between humans and kangaroos. But given there is no published data on kangaroo/human sequence comparisons yet, it's premature to conclude how much similarity there is.[/quote]

I posted the article in another thread"Whats the mutation rate of evolution theory".The article said sections of it are identical and not simular.

[quote]I will say this, however. If kangaroos were in general more genetically similar to humans than humans were to chimps, that would turn evolutionary biology on its ear.[/quote]

Sections of it are identical,while those same sections in chimps are simular.They did'nt say the entire genome is more simular than chimps.Don't you agree chimps are only 96% simular while gorillas are 97%,should'nt that turn evolutionary biology on it's ear.

Google the gentic simularities between humans and gorillas.

Thanks.

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 02:48 PM

I posted the article in another thread"Whats the mutation rate of evolution theory".The article said sections of it are identical and not simular.


Okay, I looked at what you posted and here is the exact quote:

"We've been surprised at how similar the genomes are," said Jenny Graves, director of the government-backed research effort. "Great chunks of the genome are virtually identical."

Two things:

First of all, he doesn't say they are identical, he says they are "virtually identical". There are sequences in human and chimp genomes which you could make the same claim. For example, 29% of orthologous proteins in humans and chimps are actually indentical, with most differing by only one or two amino acids.

Second, there's no quantifiers or even qualifiers. What does "virtually identical" mean? 0.1% different? 0.5% different? 2% different? Without actual numbers this doesn't mean anything. And it doesn't say what he is talking about. Gene order? Specific genes? Actual DNA sequences?

IMHO, this also highlights the problem of relying on the popular press for scientific knowledge. There's no data to go with, just soundbites and generalities. You're going to have to wait for the published data before you can make any real claims about the divergence between humans and kangaroos.

Sections of it are identical,while those same sections in chimps are simular.They did'nt say the entire genome is more simular than chimps.Don't you agree chimps are only 96% simular while gorillas are 97%,should'nt that turn evolutionary biology on it's ear.

Google the gentic simularities between humans and gorillas.


Eh, the problem with quoting percentages is you have to put it into context of what the percentage is based on. This is because there are different ways to measure similarity and differences. For example, in terms of fixed single base pair subsitutions between humans and chimps, they are ~99% similar. Take indels into account, and they are 96% similar. So you have to make sure you are comparing apples and apples.

I did google similarities between humans and gorillas but didn't find anything to support this 97% claim. I did, however, find this chart on Wiki which lists various comparative metrics between humans and chimps and humans and gorillas. Humans and chimps are more similar.

#10 jason777

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 03:24 PM

Sorry about that,I thought the article I read the other day said gorillas are 3.2% identical to humans.they are closer than that.

from wiki.

Gorillas are the largest of the living primates. They are ground-dwelling herbivores that inhabit the forests of Africa. Gorillas are divided into two species and (still under debate as of 2008) either four or five subspecies. The DNA of gorillas is 98%–99% identical to that of a human,[2] and they are the next closest living relatives to humans after the two chimpanzee species.

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 03:44 PM

Sorry about that,I thought the article I read the other day said gorillas are 3.2% identical to humans.they are closer than that.

from wiki.

Gorillas are the largest of the living primates. They are ground-dwelling herbivores that inhabit the forests of Africa. Gorillas are divided into two species and (still under debate as of 2008) either four or five subspecies. The DNA of gorillas is 98%–99% identical to that of a human,[2] and they are the next closest living relatives to humans after the two chimpanzee species.

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Unfortunately, there's no context for those percentages either in the Wiki article nor in the subsequent citation.

Like I said, % similarity between species depends on precisely what you are comparing. Traditional comparisons have been done using base pair substitution rates. With respect to that metric, humans and chimps are about 99% identical. The other 3% is with respect to indels (insertion and deletion events in the respective genomes). To the best of my knowledge, there is no comparison with gorillas and humans using indels.

When you're looking at these relative percentages, you have to make sure you are comparing apples with apples in terms of the comparison method and metric being used. If you look at the Wiki page I linked to which has a chart based on this paper, you'll see that when using the same comparative metric, chimps and humans are more closely related than humans and gorillas.

#12 jason777

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 04:14 PM

I agree to a certain extent,a carrot being 50% indentical to humans does'nt prove it's half human.It just goes to show you the uselessness of forming evolutionary trees based on dna percentages.

Thanks.

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 04:23 PM

I agree to a certain extent,a carrot being 50% indentical to humans does'nt prove it's half human.It just goes to show you the uselessness of forming evolutionary trees based on dna percentages.

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I'm not sure what you mean exactly by "based on dna percentages". Phylogenies are typically constructed based on specific sequence alignments.

#14 scott

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 08:27 AM

I'm not sure what you mean exactly by "based on dna percentages".  Phylogenies are typically constructed based on specific sequence alignments.

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If we really do share 98% of our DNA with chimps, then our body structures should be 98% the same also. Such is definetly NOT the case. So, 98% must mean something else entirely...

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 09:07 AM

If we really do share 98% of our DNA with chimps, then our body structures should be 98% the same also.  Such is definetly NOT the case.  So, 98% must mean something else entirely...

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No, this premise is wrong. Genotype and phenotype do not necessarily correlate. You can have minute changes in a genotype resulting in huge changes in a phenotype and vise-versa.

#16 Adam Nagy

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 09:54 AM

Here Shpongle,

Read this article and tell me what you think:

http://www.evolution...ndefinition.htm

I Said:

“This issue of education comes up regularly. I would like to hear what we, as creationists, are missing from our intellect that makes us suffer, knowledge wise, when engaging in the evolution discussion.”

Then you said:

This is a touchy subject and I'm going to try to approach this carefully.  First of all, I want to make clear I don't think creationists are less intelligent than evolutionists or that creationists are incapable of learning or anything like that.  Just that in my experience, in general creationists tend to have a far less degree of background knowledge in biology than evolutionists.

<snip>

So my advice to creationists who want to debate/discuss the subject of evolutionary biology: learn it first.  If you've only had a cursory high-school level introduction to the subject, then it's not enough.  Get some real books on biology and evolutionary biology specifically.  Even if you find the topic unpalatable because you disagree with it, learn it anyway.  Read journal articles/papers, too.  If you don't have access, go visit your library or university. 

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I think you misunderstood the question but you are exposing my concern. Shpongle, the little exposé you gave on your experience with creationists has nothing to do with the question. I could say the same thing about the ordinary person that has bought evolution and we would resolve nothing.

My problem is that evolutionists (and many others, even many christians, unfortunately) think there is power in invoking some priestly class that has the answers that are far too difficult to boil down into coherent and simply understood arguments of objective truth. Basically; "our problems with evolution would go away if we could just submit to the perspective of those who 'understand it'".

This is the same thing that some state churches do and it’s just as shameful as well there. It comes down to this:

“I have a higher education and the reason I can’t answer your objections is because I’ve learned more and until you have done the same... I just can’t see how you could ever understand.”

I can see the temptation, and occasional (...unfortunately, maybe even frequent...) success, in a power play like this but it’s just foolish when people understand the shell game the gets derived from it:

Beginning of Conversation:

Mr. Self professed Scholar: "Do you believe me?"

Mr. Target of Education: "No"

Mr. Self professed Scholar: "Read these books."

Mr. Target of Education: "Okay."

Mr. Self professed Scholar: "Do you believe me now?"

Mr. Target of Education: "No"

Mr. Self professed Scholar: "You need more education."

Mr. Target of Education: "Why?"

Mr. Self professed Scholar: "…because you don’t believe me yet."

Mr. Target of Education: "Okay" (Target receives advised education)

(Go back to beginning of conversation and reread)

Posted Image

Don't get me wrong. I think educational material and books are great and are very valuable but we must not lose the point that things have meaning and purpose and can be understood from many perspectives if they are actually true and the seeker is honest. Educations are too often used as an intellectual trump card and I find this intellectually cowardly, and dishonest.

Shopongle, I haven’t seen you do this yet but you’re getting really close.

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 10:56 AM

Adam_777,

I was trying to be tactful in how I replied to that and I guess I wasn't tactful enough. ^^;;;

My point was not that a person needs to just educate themselves and their thinking will change. My point is that if you want to argue either for or against a subject, particularly a subject with as much breadth and depth as evolutionary biology, you need to understand it first. Do you disagree with this?

The reason I'm stressing this is I've been in many debates where I'll bring up something as evidence in favor of evolution (particularly I like to talk about application) and I'll get attempted arguments in response that are non-sensical. This suggests that the person trying to argue against it doesn't really understand what they are trying to argue against.

There's no shame in admitting "I don't understand this, can you explain it a different way?" Trying to bluff in a discussion or debate isn't going to work.

#18 Adam Nagy

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 11:51 AM

I think the people who last on this Forum are people who do actually understand evolution, that's why they aren't fooled by pleas that point to some esoteric knowledge that would correct the supposed misunderstandings.

Do you think I haven't studied this topic from both sides? One of my favorite avenues of learning comes from top scholars hashing out there beliefs and reasons for them.

Shpongle, you’ll find this conversation more robust when you step back and realize this isn’t a "who has the facts" based discussion. We have examined and contemplated the same facts you have. This is a worldview debate with strong philosophical underpinnings that must be questioned.

People like David Hume, Thomas Paine, Emanuel Kant, and others from the “modernist revolution” had no clue how much damage they were going to do to the minds of people when they semi-successfully unhitched reason from the maker and author of reason ushering in what we now suffer from as a culture, namely, "post-modernism". I know post-modernism is a huge umbrella but its ambiguity is systemic of what it produces.

Our problem is that the public keeps being fed tired disproved lies as proof for believing Darwinian evolution and until evolutionists are called on the carpet for them, they seem to have no problem at all when people think things like:

Haeckel's embryos

Miller-Urey experiment

Speciation

vestigial structures

…Are rock solid evidence that Darwin’s grand theory has been proven. After all, we live in a postmodern relativistic world so people can just make up their own truth. I’m being sarcastic, I don’t buy this for a second, but many people deep down do buy this, even too many professing Christians.

When many biologists get shown that there evidence doesn’t prove Darwin at all, than they simply point to geology as the best proof for evolution. When geologists get shown the problem with their assumptions, they point to astronomy as the best proof for evolution. When the astronomer gets asked about the assumptions of their observations they point to biology as the best proof for evolution. This is just one of many shell games that get played, including the above shell game that says “you need more indoctrination, oops I mean education”. You haven’t done the prior yet but I’ve seen it first hand in so many debates and discussions that it isn’t even funny.

At the end of the day it seems to me that evolutionists are trying hardest not to admit that they believe Darwinian evolution by faith because their favorite thing to do, often, is scoff at the faith of Christians. Meanwhile the evolutionist's beliefs are, just as, and more so, faith based then Christianity.

Do you think Fred Williams doesn't understand the nuances of evolution when he wrote that article I posted?

http://www.evolution...ndefinition.htm

#19 jason777

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 12:50 PM

Thanks sphongle,

I'm not sure what you mean exactly by "based on dna percentages". Phylogenies are typically constructed based on specific sequence alignments.


Yes we understand that,and when we align kangaroo sequences with human sequences we find that they are virtualy identical.We can also from evolutionary trees from hot spots.Neandertal and modern humans have HV1 and HV2 hot spots occuring at the exact same sites,while chimps have hot spots occuring at completely different sites.

Only by selectively choosing,can you form anything from one genus to another.Even if we give you 1% difference between humans and chimps,thats millions of differences.

1% is all it takes to determine one created kind from another,and they are further seperated than 1%.

#20 Adam Nagy

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 02:26 PM

Thanks sphongle,
Yes we understand that,and when we align kangaroo sequences with human sequences we find that they are virtualy identical.We can also from evolutionary trees from hot spots.Neandertal and modern humans have HV1 and HV2 hot spots occuring at the exact same sites,while chimps have hot spots occuring at completely different sites.

Only by selectively choosing,can you form anything from one genus to another.Even if we give you 1% difference between humans and chimps,thats millions of differences.

1% is all it takes to determine one created kind from another,and they are further seperated than 1%.

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Jason,

Would you agree that when we look at the information objectively, Christians can come to the same useful observational information while giving the glory to God who made all the mechanisms and properties of this world in six days, just like He said?

Science isn't even close to being exclusively an Atheist club. I wonder why? There isn't a thinking person on this earth that doesn't believe in an event that defies human reason (big bang or six day creation or it’s just always been around by itself).

It just depends on what you do with the knowledge that our existence defies human reason. Do you stop and magnify the God that’s made His presence known as it pleases Him by pursuing His truth or do you push the miracle back to the distant past, 3.8 billion years ago for the first life and the start of time/space/matter 18 billion years ago so you can shrug your shoulders and say how rational you are for believing that only naturalistic causes are possible for the last 20 billion years when logic and order sprang into existence by itself. It was so long ago anyway but we know that’s how it must have happened… yeah… yeah that’s it!

Now what about believing the Bible as the Word of God? I know we believe this by faith but nothing about the robust and built in diversity and similarities of virus, bacteria, chimps or humans detracts one bit from the eye-witness testimony of the creator who did it as recorded in scripture and Christians recognize that unbridled entropy is a logical observational result of the fall just like God said it would be before anyone labeled entropy or understood it. The very fact that things are winding down shows that God has removed His sustaining light because of sin. The evidence is on the side of the Christian if he hasn’t been too influenced by the world’s vain philosophies.

I guess my point is this. Our conversations could be more fruitful and truthful if evolutionists would just admit their faith and start thinking about why they choose the faith of Darwinism over the faith of Jesus Christ but their blind faith is never admitted. I guess once they admit their faith they have a tendency to reconsider and get on the right side.

Aren’t Christians more honest then naturalists on this one fact alone? Christians admit the nature of their reason and evidence based faith. Evolutionists hold on to their faith while denying that it’s faith no matter how much evidence stands against their faith.

Adam




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