back to article Vatican endorses Darwin, slights intelligent design

The Vatican gave the Creationist lobby a left right sign of the cross today, announcing it would stage a conference on Darwinism next month and declaring that it was one of the Fathers of the Church that thought up the idea in the first place. At one point the conference at the Pontifical Gregorian University wasn't going to …

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  1. Arthur Silver badge
    Alien

    Vatican and aliens

    Actually the Vatican has had a policy on alien contact since the 1930s, so their astronomer wasn't going out on a limb but was simply repeating old news. The policy was thought up by the Jesuits, who are often nearly as far ahead of the curve as the more benighted orders are behind.

  2. Daniel Garcia
    Coat

    The Vatican do Know well

    Evolve or die.

    /coat -on

    /goto exit

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Darwin got it very wrong by excluding the possibility of God.

    Maybe Because his Father was an atheist... he thought that he had to be so too...

    Fact is that Both Creationism and Evolution can coexist - if you believe that god used evolution as a tool to make mankind from a muddy pool of ameobas.. the questions that evolution can't answer can still be atributed to a god.

    Such as why certain specifc mutations occur (evolution determins which prevail not which happen!) and Why we are what we are... (for example Why are humans two legged when most animals have more!) in other words why did we come from this path of evolution and not another? why did we evolve from apes and not sloths? (Giant slothes were once far more powerful than apes!)

    There is still room for God in evolution its just that people like to see it as Black or White and not both.

    Now Intelligent Design on the other hand.. well that comes from the land of scientology.. nuff said.

  4. Griff

    Yes, of course you did...

    Apparently, the Vatican came up with evolution in the first place. Wow. How's that for a little bit of revisionism?

    I like this:

    Indeed, he said, evolution could be traced back through Scholastics such as St Thomas Aquinas to St Augustine in the fourth century, who had noted that "big fish eat smaller fish".

    Now thats definitely a theory to rival the years of travelling in steamy, malaria-infested jungles, collecting and writing that Darwin and Wallace did before they came up with their theories.

    "big fish eat smaller fish" - that Tom Aquinas bloke was some kind of genius - he probably came up with that gem of wisdom while quaffing down the 6th of his daily allotment of 6 pints of hyper-strong monkish ale while sitting idly by a pond full of Koi Carp.

  5. James
    Boffin

    Ethics

    "with genetic manipulation fairly high on the Vatican's current don't-like list"

    And is there any part of science you don't like (as opposed to don't believe in)?

    Should there be any limit to what scientists can do?

  6. Badg3r
    IT Angle

    Interesting

    Interesting and progressive, now lets talk about contraception and the Third world shall we?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I get it

    It's opposite day, right?

  8. David Pollard

    Georges Lemaitre?

    Given that it was Georges Lemaitre who came up with the Big Bang hypothesis, which fits rather well with the idea that the universe was created, the Catholic Church could be said to have things pretty well covered.

    Perhaps we can look forward to investigations into the workings of Adam Smith's 'invisible hand', which supposedly optimises free markets, and joint research with NASA into similarities between alien abductions and visiting angels.

    These might also be reasonably described as 'cultural phenomena'.

  9. Paul
    Happy

    Next...

    ...Pope declares "There is probably no God - now stop worrying and enjoy your life" :)

  10. David Shepherd

    God, make me good - but not yet.

    I think the St Augustine quote that's most relevant to this subject is his call for

    "Unity in essential things, freedom in nonessential things, and charity in all things"

  11. Adam Oellermann
    Flame

    Augustine Misquote

    I believe Augustine actually said "Give me chastity and continence - but not yet". The quotation is from Book 8 of his Confessions, which is a great read. Fortunately he received a healthy dose of both, becoming a monk and one of the greatest thinkers and theologians of all time. Though he was instrumental in steering the Church through the Pelagian controversy, it was probably not until the time of the Reformation that his deep understanding of the vital doctrine of grace was fully appreciated.

    I was tempted to go with one of the "saint" icons, but I think putting billg or steveb next to a posting about Augustine would probably earn one a swift crisping by lightning-bolt - hence flames.

  12. Dunstan Vavasour
    Boffin

    "Valid Scientific Approach"

    And herein lies the key. The Church sees science as a mechanism for us humans to use to describe God's creation. It is axiomatic that all life and all matter in the Universe was created by Him, and our scientific explanations sit within that philosophical framework. So a "valid scientific approach" may be rigorously true within its own philosophical domain without causing any wider problems.

    The IDers don't have such a philosophical framework, and therefore place scientific explanation at odds with creation. The description of ID as a "cultural phenomenon" puts it firmly, and rather wittily, in its place.

  13. Mike

    Royale with cheese*

    Looks like Darwin's birthday is coming up

    So?

    He's the bloke that discovered how evolution works

    And?

    Well people will talk about evolution and how the bible can't be the literal truth

    Arse, you're right

    What shall we do?

    How about locking him up until he admits he's wrong, or just have him killed?

    He's already dead.

    Double arese, worked on Galileo

    Yea, until PJ2 bottled it, said sorry and admitted the earth was moving back in 1992

    Splitter

    How about saying we thought of it first?

    Do you mean mumble vaguely about Tommy Aquinas and how he thought of it first?

    Yea, nobody really listens to us anyway

    Apart from american evangelicals?

    Oh, fuck don't remind me, mentalists the lot of 'em, at least creationists are just stupid

    31% of americans believe in the literal truth of the bible

    I'm going, that's all there is to it, I'm fucking going

    Yeah baby, you'd dig it the most.

    *Different scene... I know.... don't care

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Keep up at the back!

    With the Vatican eating humble pie, I suppose that leaves just the Palinesque theotards at the back of the class fiddling with their "Jesus riding a dinosaur into Jerusalem" playset. Their destiny? To work as bus drivers refusing to drive buses, one would imagine, given the amazing selection of role models at their disposal.

  15. Adrian Barnett
    Thumb Up

    Great

    So they're catching up with 19th century science? Excellent.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re ethics

    > And is there any part of science you don't like (as opposed to don't believe in)?

    James, science is about theories and hypotheses that can be verified experimentally. It's not a belief system. You may well choose not to believe in the laws of physics. That doesn't mean they are wrong.

    > Should there be any limit to what scientists can do?

    Of course. But that's got nothing to do with which parts of science you and I don't like. Or believe in.

  17. Sean Kennedy

    re: Excluding god

    Sorry, AC, but there really isn't a place for God at the science table. Unless it can be tested, hence falsifiable, it's not science. And God, by most definitions, can not be falsifiable.

    There are holes in evolution ( stop calling it Darwinism you idiots; Darwin was merely the scientist who put all the pieces together, but there has been significant progress with Evolution since then ), true. We will eventually reason or otherwise logically explain those holes. Some explanations may modify the theory of evolution, others may not. But eventually, we'll answer all questions poised.

  18. Adrian Barnett
    Alert

    God of the Gaps

    AC - "the questions that evolution can't answer can still be atributed to a god."

    Only if you subscribe to the "God Of The Gaps" notion. If science cannot currently answer a question, then immediately saying "Aha! God did it!" is about as intellectually weak as it is possible to be.

    Wouldn't it be better to try to find out, than to invoke the supernatural as an explanation for anything you don't know the answer to?

    Evolution does not preclude the existence of a God, but it does show that there is absolutely no need to require a God to explain the entire history of life on the planet.

    You might as well say, "Well, I don't really understand every detail of how my Plasma TV works, so I guess God must be working in there somewhere".

  19. Vincent Archer

    Re: Darwing got it very wrong...

    "Why are humans two legged when most animals have more!"

    Actually, evolution answers this one very nicely (note that we're still "badly" two-legged and suffer from chronic spinal problems from this fact - but none of those are sufficient to further evolution that way), just like why social primates developped intelligence rather than the loner sloths.

    (in case you are wondering - one of the primary reasons we developped intelligence is that smarter apes were a lot better at tracking who was whom among the social primate clans, which led the smart ones to exploit better this to do the deed. Plus a couple of other evolutionary pushes. Being smarter wouldn't help the sloth score one on saturday evenings)

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Every sperm is sacred

    "with genetic manipulation fairly high on the Vatican's current don't-like list"

    and lets not forget condoms.

    God must be well and truly pissed off with this lot by now.

  21. Mike

    No, no, no, no, no

    <quote>Fact is that Both Creationism and Evolution can coexist - if you believe that god used evolution as a tool to make mankind from a muddy pool of ameobas.. </quote>

    Nope, creationism can't exist with evolution, creationists indicate that people have never evolved - you're talking about something completely different.

    <quote>the questions that evolution can't answer can still be atributed to a god.</quote>

    Or aliens, or my nephew kevin, or a small piece of green putty I found in my armpit one day, one supernatural explanation is as good as another

    <quote>Such as why certain specifc mutations occur (evolution determins which prevail not which happen!)</quote>

    It's "random" as in chance, tossing a coin wil be heads or tails (and rarely on it's side), pehaps random atomic movement (brownian motion) is at the heart of mutations or solar radiation, or the very random interraction of nutrinos, there's no reason to think there's an inteligence behind it.

    <quote>Why we are what we are... (for example Why are humans two legged when most animals have more!)</quote>

    If we had four legs you could ask the same question, why not two legs or six or eight? why don't we have heat sensors like snakes?

    <quote>in other words why did we come from this path of evolution and not another? why did we evolve from apes and not sloths? (Giant slothes were once far more powerful than apes!)</quote>

    What difference would it make if we did? assuming that other creatures are not constrained by their environments (cold blood/vegitarian/sea dewlling etc.) then eventually another species will evolve into "higher beings", this probably happened with Neandertals, and development changes can be observed now with chimps, if slothes developed into a higher form then maybe they would say "why didn't we develop from homo erectus?"

    What you have described are examples why science is so wonderful, not reasons to believe in any kind of biblical creation or ID, if you say "god must exist because you can't explain X" then when X get explained you'll say "god must exist because you can't explain Y" and so on, this is called "the god of gaps" and it's just as valid to say "we don't know" which has more intellectual integrity.

  22. Vincent Archer

    Re: Yes, of course you did...

    "Now thats definitely a theory to rival the years of travelling in steamy, malaria-infested jungles, collecting and writing that Darwin and Wallace did before they came up with their theories."

    Note that Darwin didn't figure out the idea that selection created new species. Any farmer of the previous two or three millenia knew that already. What he figured out is that, apparently, what farmers did, Nature did also, and figured out why she would do so; hence the term Natural Selection.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    Alien Rapture

    I recently worked with a guy who told me that the catholic church came out with the story about aliens so that when The Rapture (TM) comes and all the "true believers" are taken up they will explain the disappearances away as alien abductions.

    Genius.

    Religious Conspiracists are the maddest ones of all. Give me David Icke and his 4th dimensional lizards any day...

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    " Unless it can be tested, hence falsifiable, it's not science"

    That's "climate science" taken care of, then.

    "Darwin was merely the scientist who put all the pieces together"

    Really?

    Drat. If only it wasn't for those Mendel-ing kids, he might have got away with it.

  25. Griff

    Tetrapods and Apes

    "Why are humans two legged when most animals have more?"

    Actually, I think you'll find that humans are better described as "4-limbed" rather than "two-legged"

    Along with thousands of other animals that are thought to have evolved from a common 4-limbed ancestor. (I think the term is tetrapod in cladistics)

    Cows, tigers, frogs, lizards, sparrows, gorillas, etc etc etc. All have 4 limbs.

    Oh, and humans didn't evolve from apes - we ARE apes. Humans are genetically closer to Chimps than gorillas, and chimps are gorillas are both apes, so...

  26. Filippo

    @AC

    The questions you mention weren't answered by Darwin personally, but they have been answered since then. The source of mutations - errors in DNA transcription - has been well known for decades. The rest of the theory of evolution is pretty much applied statistics. There's actually not much at all that is still totally unexplained in evolution. The only big point left is abiogenesis, but we're making good progress on that (I heard about RNA replicators just a few days ago). Eventually, and possibly quite soon, we'll have a solid model of how it went all the way from dead dirt to humans.

    A few generations after that, people will regard creationists in the same way we regard people who believed that lightnings are the spears of Zeus. The church does well to distance itself from them, as in the long run creationists are doomed to become progressively less believable.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Erm, what about the dinosaurs Benny?

    So, even my nine year old daughter (who goes to a C of E school) knows that the bible never mentions the mighty lizards.

    When asking the person who taught creation she was told "God put them there to test the faith of man"

    As you can imagine I haven't told her about Father Christmas yet, but imagine someone living in an age of medicine, computers and learning being told "oh, some invisible person who keeps an eye on us all the time and refuses to show himself did all this"

    I do hope this spread of religious insanity stops and people realise there is no omnipotent creature who guides and punishes everyone.

    Life is short and our role is to reproduce and continue the linage of our d.n.a.

    Get over your medieval fairy stories and enjoy what time you have wondering at the marvel of how strands of acid can do what they do.

    Paris: because she enjoys the close-quarters study of other people's dna.

  28. Patrick Kelly
    Happy

    A bit off on the Augustine

    Augustine wasn't referring to all sin, just the best kind. The quote in the article should be "Lord, give me chastity, but not yet."

  29. ian

    The God of the Gaps

    AC - "the questions that evolution can't answer can still be atributed to a god."

    I'm not religious, but its clear to me that any religious person that attempts to reconcile science with religion by recourse to the "God of the Gaps" idea is dooming their religion in several ways:

    1. If religion wasn't obscurantist before, then confining God to the obscure will certainly make it so. Remember, there is no security in obscurity, which leads to the next trap for religion in the God of the gaps idea.

    2. As the gaps narrow, the God of the gaps diminishes. So much for your omni-everything God!

    As a warning the religious: "MIND THE GAP!"

  30. Jamie
    Linux

    Funny discussions

    I get a kick out of people when they argue about evolution vs. creationism.

    The pro evolution groups argue that creationism cannot exist because it is fact that the world is more than a couple of thousand years old.

    The creationists argue that the idea of dinosaurs and evolution are ideas planted by people trying to destroy the church.

    Thing is they are both right and wrong in ways. There is no reason you cannot believe in creationism and evolution.

    First TIME is a constant that was created by man, thus only has any basis in fact on this little planet in our terms. The Bible states that God created the heavens and earth in 6 days and rested on the 7th. As God first of all would be Omni-potent and Omni-present why would our limited knowledge of the Universe act as a restriction on this being.

    Second lets think about the current timeline as stated by our limited knowledge of the universe. Earth has been around for about 6 billion and some odd years. So who is to say that each billions years is not represented by 1Billion years.

    Third option to think about is that our current view of time is based on how long it takes for the earth to revolve and rotate aournd the sun. Thus these ideas are not contants as not all heavenly bodies revolve at the same speed or rotate around thier respective suns at the same speeds.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    (untitled)

    There may be no place for God at the science table, but scientists should be capable of considering issues other than science. When science and checked and confirmed all it can we still have outstanding questions such as, "why does maths exist ?". So one needs to label something responsible for all the order we perceive. A God of order.

    Ah the "God of the Gaps" quote eh ? So if one can see a process which explains something which was not previously understood, then that is supposed to be some kind of death stroke for any consideration of matters outside of science ? Hardly, it merely shows that much of this physical universe seems to be able to continue under its own processes without further need for intervention. The phrase is useful for pouring scorn on others, and giving one a false feeling of superiority, but little more.

    Not sure if AC is just trolling but ... :-)

    A form of creationism could exist provided you are happy with the idea that one started with fairly sophisticated creatures, brought into existence by a deity, and that evolution honed the creatures to "perfection" afterwards. But that isn't normally the stated belief of those arguing for creationism.

    It matter not which specific mutations occur. So long as enough of them occur to weed out the majority detrimental ones, and leave the rare improvements.

    Humans happen to be 2 legged because they found a niche where 2 legs were an advantage to their survival (at least up to breeding age and a little beyond). Most animals have more legs because they were unfortunate enough not to occupy the niche we found. They found one of their own where more legs proved useful to survival.

    It matters not which path our species took to reach where we are now. Had we just so happened to have evolved from a different creature we could still ask the same pointless question. Why do we not come from cats, or dogs, or tortoises, or whatever. Obviously power was not a significant factor for our species. After all not every species on the planet can be the most powerful.

  32. Eddy Ito Silver badge
    Flame

    As if it mattered.

    The majority of the Creationist cum IDers aren't Catholic. You read that right, not Catholic. Many of the Catholics I know are down right reasonable and pragmatic folk, albeit most could be best described as Cafeteria Catholics or Condom Catholics, much to the chagrin of "true" Catholics, AKA Papists. Note, theoretically, there aren't any divisions in Catholicism as practiced by lay people, only the elite group running the show have their sects but the hoi polloi don't. Don't get me wrong, Catholics have problems too but that has more to do with pent up issues about gender identity, sexual preference and impotence. Hence the different sects for the elites.

    No, most of the ID card carrying members are of the Protestant persuasion and couldn't give a gnats arse about what the Vatican does or says about putting a Darwin-fish on the back of your Prius. The real screamers are typically the Evangelicals, who have a burning desire to show their superiority and are often anti-Pope to the point of disgust. After all, either they are right or the Pope is, can't have any grey, grey is bad for the chitlin's.

  33. Luther Blissett

    Quiz night - beer caps at the ready

    A man from Mars might observe the human male has only a single penis. Given that failsafe IT systems have a large degree of redundancy built in, is this

    a) Intelligent Design?

    b) because of evolution?

    c) not because of evolution?

    d) not yet because of evolution?

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    The Bigger Picture

    Look, it's like this. God is everywhere and he (or she) knows everything. So, knowing that a BIG BANG would start off the whole Universe and all of the processes that scientists theorise about, right about, argue about and sometimes prove - there you have it, you can spend as much time as you like trying to argue for Evolution vs Creationism vs Natural Selection vs MTV (cos everyone is entitled to it), but at the end of the day - an all-knowing, all-seeing, omnipresent being flicked over the first domino and the rest (as they say - whoever they are) is history. Get over it and enjoy life people ! You're only here for approx 70 years and then you're worm food, so burn that candle at both ends !

    P.S. There is no God - he (she!) was just a way for the religious leaders of the times to get control of the nwashed, ill-educated masses - but, hey, who gives a shit.

  35. Alan Roberts

    about time

    finally the church is starting to accept facts over speculation and age old stories from so called learned people who did not know any better.

    its about time too.

    there is millions of scientific evidence to support evolution and absolutely none to support a god. (peoples faith and what they believe is not proof of anything i;m afraid)

    now they are saying that it was actually the church that came up with the idea in the first place...... yeah right..... its just so childish.

    they placed galileo under house arrest for a good part of his life for stating that the earth wasn;t the centre of the universe and it took them hundreds of years to actually acknowledge it as fact and give the poor guy a reprieve.

    even tho the evidence was staring them blatantly in the face for centuries. (but they chose to believe otherwise because it went against what they had been teaching for centuries)

    religion was just a way to control the masses of the past by telling them if they were good they would go to heaven and if they were bad they would go to hell.

    if people want to believe in god then fine I will not think anything less or more of them, what gets me is the shock from these religious zealots when you say you do not believe in it. (it is laughable to be honest)

    would the case for there being a god stand up in court.... you can bet your ass it wouldn;t

    would the case for evolution stand up...... Yes it would because there is evidence to show within reasonable doubt that it is fact. (the doubt I may add is from the church)

    I know which theory i believe in. and its certainly not an almighty creator.

  36. George Shaw

    @"Darwin got it very wrong by excluding the possibility of God. "

    Oh dear, you have fallen at the first hurdle, you are stuck at the classic creationist 'wrongthinking'....you're starting here, at the end...looking back at a journey of several hundred million years and saying, oh that was a complex route I could never of got here by chance, there must have been someone guiding me... but evolution works the other way, you start at the beginning, you take random turns,dead ends, fast lanes, back streets, eventually you end up somewhere you like, you had no idea where that would be, but it just happens to be here, could have been a thousand other places, but you've chosen here, for now...and you got here all by yourself...

  37. A J Stiles
    Flame

    @ AC 13:37

    "Fact is that Both Creationism and Evolution can coexist - if you believe that god used evolution as a tool to make mankind from a muddy pool of ameobas [sic]" -- Except that's not quite what happened, though, is it? Try reading a science textbook sometime.

    "The questions that evolution can't answer can still be atributed [sic] to a god." -- only until science finds out the real answer.

    "Such as why certain specifc mutations occur (evolution determins [sic] which prevail not which happen!)" -- mutations occur at random. When DNA is copied, there is a definite probability of errors. Which of the randomly-occurring mutations prevail is not random, but is determined by their contribution to the viability of the next generation.

    "and Why we are what we are... (for example Why are humans two legged when most animals have more!) in other words why did we come from this path of evolution and not another? why did we evolve from apes and not sloths? (Giant slothes [sic] were once far more powerful than apes!)" -- we are what we are because that is what we are, and if we were different that's still all we'd know. Asking this question is no different from a puddle of water wondering why the hole in the ground is the exact right shape for it. We adapted to fit an environment that already existed. There are other potential solutions that would be valid, granted; but humans happen to be what the process of trial, error and refinement came up with.

    "There is still room for God in evolution its [sic] just that people like to see it as Black or White and not both." -- well, that "room for god" is shrinking day by day.

    "Now Intelligent Design on the other hand.. well that comes from the land of scientology.. nuff said." -- Intelligent Design is just creationism, reheated. It still suffers from a fairly fundamental flaw: If complexity cannot arise spontaneously, meaning complex life-forms must have required a more-complex designer, then how do you account for the existence of the required designer in the first place?

    Anyway, Scientology is ultimately no more riduculous than Christianity.

  38. John Sinclair

    When you see a sign saying "Secret Nuclear Bunker" you know the war is already over.

    Is your subconscious intelligent? It is almost certainly massively intelligent. Isn't that what the whole father son thing was all about? You came to the subconcious mind via the conscious mind, you could only come to the father (subconscious) via the son (conscious). Certainly some ideas of Shell seem to be pushing us along the idea of a conceptual religion sort of multi-verse, you could say we live in a single mind as multiple personalities, in which case playing one thought (person) off against another would be evil except for anyone other than the owner of that overall mind of which we form the subconscious elements if you like, one person could be the conscious mind, we and all the rest of creation would form the subconscious part. Sort of makes some sense of the stuff from Shell. Google the words Shell Boffin Sinclair and read the stuff in that sort of light. After all how can something real such as matter come from nothing as in the big bang theory, ..... now that is true madness but a conceptual reality could appear real to fellow concepts such as you and me. What would YOU call the top concept? TLG, tender loving God? Or electro-magnetic-spin? I know which I would prefer and maybe subconsciously so do we all. Maybe the church has thrown in the towel just as it won.

  39. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Lamprey ...

    ... a small that eats bigger fish.

  40. Sean Kennedy

    re: Climate

    Focus, we're talking about evolution here, not the climate.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    What a great idea . . . !

    "why don't we have heat sensors like snakes?"

    I want - wings like a swan so I can fly, eyes that see into the infrared and UV, and a bifurcated whanger (like snakes have) so I can do the twins next door simultaneously instead of sequentially.

    Interesting to make a list of the various senses/capabilities various animals have and then do a bit of genetic engineering so we can have them as well.

    Igor, fetch my coat, that's a good lad . . .

  42. Turbojerry

    Now all they need to do is

    Say Nazis, IRA terrorists, Spanish Inquisitors and pedos are evil, expose all in their midst and hand them over to the authorities where necessary and get rid of the Nazi Pope.

  43. Chris
    Boffin

    RE:Darwin got it very wrong

    Darwin wasn't an atheist, and in fact, he mentions g*d (or a Creator) in his Origin of Species, as the one who laid down the rules for natural selection. That is what makes the whole ID/Creationist argument so funny. If they only read what they criticised...

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Genetic manipulation is okay by the Vatican

    Actually genetic manipulation is okay by the Vatican under two conditions.

    1) The genetic manipulation is not done to humans.

    2) Diversity is preserved

    And from a non-religious standpoint, #2 makes a lot of sense. Less diversity makes a population more susceptible to bad things.

  45. John E Shuey
    Pirate

    Oops!

    "..original sin, the stubborn blemish that has condemned humanity to a progressive decline from the Garden of Eden..."

    You see then, if the RCC really accepts evolution, they should fold up their frocks and go out of business. Because...

    If evolution is true, then the creation myths of Genesis are not. No six day creation, no Garden, no Adam & Eve = NO ORIGINAL SIN!

    No original sin, no need for the sky-god's little boy to be grotesquely sacrificed to save us from it, and voila...no more need for the RCC or any of its considerably diverse and divergent offspring.

  46. Mark McC
    Flame

    Mind the (God of the) Gaps.

    "... the questions that evolution can't answer can still be atributed to a god..."

    No, they can't. By labelling everything unknown as 'God did it', you're espousing the very opposite of scientific theory. When a scientist encounters an unknown quantity in a formula, or lacks a theory to rationally explain something, the correct answer is "I don't know". Admitting your ignorance is not shameful, and highlights areas where other people should focus their research. To assume that anything that can't be explained has to be the work of God is to admit that there's no point trying to find an answer.

    I wouldn't be typing this now if at some point in the past scientists had given up trying to explain electricity and just declared it was angry sparks hurled from the sky by God. The electron gun in my monitor wouldn't exist if science hadn't discovered the atom and its fundamental particles. Back then, they couldn't see these particles first-hand so their solution should have been to accept that everything was made of magic God-stuff and leave it at that?

    Most importantly, using God as an explanation is simply replacing one unknown quantity with another. Many people with your reasoning often attribute the Big Bang to God, since the universe can't just have been created from nothing, right? Maybe, but this doesn't answer the question - it just raises more. If God made the Big Bang, who made God? What is God made of? Is there more than one God? What physical phenomena or stimulii caused the God to react to form a Big Bang? Can we reproduce the God in controlled experiments?

    OK, silly, but the point is that it's much more scientific to say "we don't know, but let's research the hell out of it and get some answers" than to say "we don't know so God must have done it, case closed. Let's cancel all research and go sing us some Kum Ba Ya".

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What did the Pope ever do to you lot?

    There's an awful lot of hostility evident in some of these comments, and in the original article. There's nothing particularly newsworthy in the Vatican's position on Evolution - for example, Mendel was a Catholic priest, and his work on genetics wouldn't fit well with an organization that was doctrinally opposed to Evolution, would it?

    Assigning bad motives to people you don't like is bigotry. A rather unscientific approach to the world.

  48. stu
    Flame

    @AC 19:04

    "What did the Pope ever do to you lot?"

    oh.. I don't know... how about single handledly slaughtered millions in Africa due to his moronic take on sperm for starters ?

  49. nagyeger
    Coat

    Just because...

    Just because I can see the flaws in "Intelligent design", and recognise that (at least some - I've not seen it all) creationist literature is a pack of misrepresentations designed to impress the gullible, does that make me an atheist? No!

    Just because I get angry to see God's name linked to lies, does that make me a heretic?

    Just because I can see the gaping flaws in, say, Dawkin's arguments, does that make me some gullible extremist loony? Doubt it.

    Just because I can read Genesis without thinking I need to ignore scientific results, does that mean I deny my faith? Naaaah.

    Do I know all the answers? No, of course not, I'm a scientist!

    Do I know who does know all the answers? Yes, he's my friend, my saviour.

    Am I glad he's not telling us all the answers? Yes, it's much more fun to find things out as we go along!

    Coat... I'd like the flame proof one that Daniel's friends had, please!

  50. Eddy Ito Silver badge
    Flame

    @What did the Pope ever do to you lot?

    Well for starters he will be happy to tell me that I am guilty of a sin that condemns my soul to an eternity in hell. A sin that was alleged to have happened at the dawn of creation by two people I have never met nor had any relation with. He will be all to happy to judge me and find me guilty based on information he lacks because "God told him to." While I am fortunate enough to be out of his tyrannical reach, his followers attempt to push their religion on me through numerous pieces of legislation that demeans whole classes of people and favors "proper" living situations based on nothing more than a monogamous relationship between a male and female. Given the historical evidence and failure of many a Pope to cry out "X was wrong," the question should have been, what haven't the Pope and his lot done to us?

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Curve ball?

    What is a curve ball?

    Wikipedia explains it as something "thrown with a grip and hand movement that imparts down and/or sideways spin to the ball" Are you sure the Vatican is doing this?

    Paris because she only kisses.

  52. Alan Roberts
    Coat

    to another anonymous coward

    " There's an awful lot of hostility evident in some of these comments, and in the original article" and rightly so, its the same as when somebody says they seen a ghost, theres a lot of hostility and laughter then too. (i don't blame you for wishing to remain anonymous)

    "what did the pope ever do to you"...... personally nothing.

    However I do have a lot against what he and the church stands for . the pope is the boss, the man in charge, so its only right that he will take the flak. like any other business ,the buck stops with the manager.

    nobody is attacking the pope... we are attacking religion and its supernatural stupidity as a whole.

    what about the ancient egyptians and their hundreds of gods? why were they wrong and christianity correct?

    simple because the belief the egyptians had went out of fashion.

    they didn't know where they came from or how earth was created (we now know this is because the sun formed from a disk of gas and rubble and the leftovers clumped together to form earth and the other planets in the solar system)

    I know the religous among you will say "ah but where did the gas come from".... thats not the point , the point is that god never created the solar system end of story. which causes the whole creation argument to fall flat on its face at the 1st hurdle.

    like the christians, the egyptians came up with a story to attempt to explain it all because they simply didn't have the means to prove otherwise. We have this capability now, yet religion still clings to an ancient belief despite damning evidence to the contrary.

    the idea of 1 god actually arose in ancint egypt when Akhenaten turned his back on thousands of years of tradition to say that the sun god was the only true god because the sun is the giver of life. (thats got more standing with me than the christian god because at least there is some truth in it.)

    in a couple of thousand years from now man will look back at christianity and laugh as we now laugh at early ancient egyptian beliefs.

  53. David

    Richard Dawkins

    Richard Dawkins for president (or maybe pope next time?)

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Adrian Barnett et al.

    A very big mistake made by many people, not just yourself, is the failure to separate evolution from abiogenesis.

    To explain, abiogenesis explains (or defines) the origin of life, whereas evolution defines the origin of species.

    Evolution makes no attempt to explain how life originated in the first place, it solely defines what happens with that life once it exists. Abiogenesis is a pre-requisite for evolution.

    Equally abiogenesis makes no attempt to explain what happens to life once it has originated.

    Although I don't believe in God, by any name, I am not so arrogant as to say that because evolutionary theory is clearly correct that it explains how life originated in teh first place, and so this must necessarily prove there is no God*

    If you wish a simple allegory it is the difference between horticulture and cookery. Cookery defines how the potato turned into chips** but has absolutely no interest, involvement or relevance to how the potato was grown, nurtured and harvested.

    *Even if evolution could prove how life originated this does itself not disprove the existence of God. It is absurd to suggest that God, if God exists as defined as the omnipotent supreme being, would not know how evolution would progress, especially as He would have created evolution in the first place.

    **For the colonials a chip is a piece of potato about half an inch by half an inch by as long as the potato (typically at least 2 inches) that has been deep fried until the outside is a crisp golden brown and the inside is light an fluffy. Or until it is a hot greasy lump of starch if you go to a chippy at 2am. It is not a crisp***

    *** A crisp is what Americans call a potato chip. man are they slow or what?

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    If ID is so great why do you guys hang around science forums

    I have notices that ID freaks are always hanging out in science forums they never have anything positive contribute to the discussion and just flame everyone who came in to post about science oh yeah and the Pope.

    Death to the monsters from the ID

    I vote we all recycled condoms to the third world and solve the diversity / environment issue in one fell stroke.

    Okay I'm going

  56. Charles King
    Happy

    I'll take that continence now, thanks

    'I believe Augustine actually said "Give me chastity and continence - but not yet" '

    So Augustine was happy wearing a nappy? Well, you learn something new every day I guess.

  57. Jon Minhinnick
    Thumb Down

    FUD

    "...declaring that it was one of the Fathers of the Church that thought up the idea in the first place"

    Embrace and extend.

    Share and enjoy.

    Bull and shit.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    "no" to anti-semiticism AND creationism in the same week?

    wow, who would have thought it was 2009 already?

    Paris ... because she may not be very bright but she isn't mired in the past and with it, a whole load of nasty, scheming, manipulative, political, social engineering and generally deviant nonsense, gawd bless 'er

  59. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  60. Simon Brown
    Paris Hilton

    God

    Intelligent design is the resort of a weak mind. How can something so complex happen all by itself? Oh it must be God. Yet perversely enough, intelligent design and creationism in general are antithetical to religion.

    Religion can not support intelligent design or creationism because intelligent design has the "hallmark" of a deity. If you have irrefutable proof of the existence of God ergo the existence of God is not a matter of faith.

    Evolution on the other hand is easily supportable by religion. One it's there, we can observe it happening. And two it allows life to exist and evolve without God. Therefore believing in evolution doesn't somehow prove God's existence and then destroy the concept of faith. Evolution also doesn't disprove the existence of God, either. Evolution just is.

    So how come holy books have stories of creation in them? People have always wanted to know "where do we come from" and "why are we here" and bibles and holy books give them some answers. The may not be the right answers. There may be no right answers. There may also be no wrong answers. Though any answers that say "kill anyone who doesn't agree with this particular set of answers" could probably be construed as being "less right". Stories of creation are surely just that - stories to explain to people how such an intricate and incredible thing as "existing" can happen, let alone the world and life and everything else around us. They're explanations, they may not be correct or factually accurate but then you don't have to believe them if you don't want to. If you could prove the existence of God then you would have to believe in at least one of them. But luckily you can't, not even beyond the balance of probabilities. No doubt that's exactly how God wants it :)

    PH - neither correct, nor factually accurate, so probably she's God then...

  61. BioTube

    So much hate...

    First, to Lee:

    At least we know enough not to mispronounce "-re". Even the French get that one right - and that's saying something. There's also the small fact of who's the more relevant country(especially since the rising stars ain't European in descent).

    Finally, IIRC, the order of species created in Genesis matches the order the Darwinists have worked out. Interesting, n'es pas?

  62. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Just two words for Mr Pope

    Nut Job

  64. Magani
    Flame

    Rating Change?

    So does the semi-volte-face / getting-of-wisdom by the Catholic Church mean that I have to revise my rating of them down to "Mostly Harmless"? [*]

    Nope, didn't think so.

    Guess I'll have to wait until they get a clue about contraception, the 3rd world, and their 'Populate or Perish' mentality in an already overpopulated world. Also the fact that they're probably the richest entity on the planet and still we have massive poverty in areas where they're busiest getting people to breed, make more Catholics and stay poor.

    /<rant>

    Flames, 'cos I'm obviously going there when I die.

    * Come back Douglas. We miss you.

  65. tfagan

    Evolutionary Hard Times

    For you very bright people that say CO2 causes rising temperatures, Intelligent Design is Creationism, and over the last 150 years Evolution has been proven. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

    This is an interesting article. Some of you talk as though Evolution has somehow (when no one was watching) been shown to be true when in fact no such proof exists. That is unless, when you are talking about Evolution, you are using the usual Darwinist ploy of mixing breeding (variation within a species) with Evolution.

    Just to be clear Micro-evolution (breeding or variation within a species) has been shown to be controlled by the genes which is found in the DNA chain. There are limits to the variation within a species. For example, a cat can never be as large as a blue whale as the result of breeding. Of course, there has never been an example of breeding from one species into another in the history of the world. (I am sure the wise crackers will say otherwise.)

    So macro-evolution is just an unproven theory, an idea, without any known proof whatsoever.

    I guess we are debating an idea that has no natural scientific credibility when we talk about Darwin’s Evolution or other faith based theologies.

    What about Intelligent Design? Are we dealing with faith or are we dealing with scientific methods to determine if Intelligent Design has merit. ID deals with Information theory, Probability theory and Biology. ID is delving into the living cells of animals and plants. ID Considers DNA, RNA, amino acids, proteins, genes, all the molecular machines and instruments contained in the living cell. Based on the evidence therein derived ID is a proposed theory showing that mutations and survival of the fittest can not explain how life began. ID shows us that spontaneous helpful mutations in the thousands is not possible. Thus, Evolution can not account for the generation of new species. ID is as credible as Evolution and in my opinion ID is a better theory than Evolution for how life began and has prospered. ID does in fact account for the generation of new species.

    If religious people can conceive that God may have used Evolution to generate new species, I see no reason those same religious people cannot conceive that God may have used Intelligent Design to generate new species.

    Based on the above, I think we should teach all popular theories even though Evolution has fallen on hard times. We should especially teach the strength and weakness of Evolution so people can judge for themselves the motives of the Darwinian faithful.

  66. Moss Icely Spaceport
    Alert

    @ nagyeger

    "Just because I can see the gaping flaws in, say, Dawkin's arguments, does that make me some gullible extremist loony? Doubt it."

    OK, I'll bite.

    Please inform us all exactly which of Dawkin's arguments have flaws and what these flaws might be. I am most interested to know.

    Thank you.

  67. jake Silver badge

    @BioTube

    "Finally, IIRC, the order of species created in Genesis matches the order the Darwinists have worked out. Interesting, n'es pas?"

    Which of the two different Genesis creation stories are you discussing? Have you even read Genesis, all by yourself, for comprehension? There are actually two completely different versions of creation in Genesis. Don't believe me? Compare & contrast Genesis 1:1-2:3 and Genesis 2:4-25 ... Surely someone's put up a Web page somewhere with all the errors in the Bible ...

    ::hits metacrawler::

    Ah. Here we go:

    http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/accounts.html

    But don't pay attention to me or Skeptics Annotated Bible. Instead, I invite you to read your own copy the book for yourself. It's all there in black and white, for anyone to see, as I discovered when I read it for myself when I was about eight years old (and promptly got kicked out of Sunday School ... thus teaching me early on that religions hate people who can think for themselves).

    But you won't read it, will you? Because if you find out your book has a flaw, the whole house of cards that you've built up in your mind will come tumbling down.

    And THAT, my friends, is the difference between science and religion. A scientist would relish the thought of finding a major flaw in the general scientific consensus.

  68. raving angry loony

    given an inch, they take a light year.

    From my point of view, science attempts to answer the provable, testable HOW of things and belongs in science class. Religions of all stripes (including so-called creationism repackaged as "intelligent design") arrogantly claims to address the unprovable and untestable WHY and belongs far away from science class - philosophy maybe, if one is feeling generous. The two might be able to coexist, but not in a SCIENCE classroom.

    Of course, the Catholics rejecting I.D. will simply inflame the Catholic hating hard of thinking I.D. crowd even more, so there's no net gain there I think. People such as tfagan, who wouldn't understand the concepts and interplay of "testable", "proof", "hypothesis" and "theory" if it hit them in the head with a large iguana. Or even a finch beak.

  69. Adrian Barnett

    @Lee - Abiogenesis

    > A very big mistake made by many people, not just yourself, is the failure to separate evolution from abiogenesis.

    You are correct, of course - I was oversimplifying as the details are a bit much for a forum like this. Evolution is not about how life *began*, but how it has worked since then.

    But, of course, there is still no need to invoke the supernatural as an explanation of how it actually started up.

  70. Simon Buttress
    Thumb Up

    Watch Bill Maher's Religulous

    As the title says good people. That is all

  71. John Angelico
    Flame

    Vatican now authoritative on science?

    Where it wasn't before?

  72. It wasnt me

    @luther blisset

    Worry not, evolution is already having a go at that one. According to my brother in law, who is a surgeon specialising in male genitalia, there are well documented of men being born with 5 of them. Id look up the term, but "5 pe**ses" is not something I want to google at work.

  73. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    I am surprised

    nobody mentioned the Flying Spaghetti Monster yet.

    or the Great Green Arglezeizure for that matter

    I like to try the following on those Christians who take the bible literally:

    Me: so you believe in the literal truth of the bible?

    C: Yeah sure!, It's the word of GOD.

    Me: Good, do you eat pork, you like bacon and eggs?

    C: Certainly

    Me: THEN YOU ARE UNCLEAN!!!

    C: How come?

    Me: says so in Leviticus 11:6. QED!!!

    This seriously annoys them

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Heart

    Simple Test for God

    pinched from 'zen and the art of motorcycle maintainence':

    1. observe amoeba on a water slide

    2. introduce some small amount of acid at one end of the slide.

    3. observe amoeba attempts at moving away from toxic environment

    Why? why does life choose life over death? the opposite of 'going with the flow'?

    God told them to do it, that's why! Turn THAT into a chemical formula, why don't you?

    /clap hands

    /shake tamborine

  75. Alan Fisher
    Flame

    Even in literature

    Memnoch the Devil by Anne Rice gives the perfect example of creationalism and evolution together. Now I'm not a believer in the benign, flowing robes God myself but this one makes you pause; the best quote is this "God and the Devil are moral idiots" ...it undermines the belief of god as we know it and makes interesting reading.....I believe in some kind of creative force but not an antropomorphic entity who's directly involved but something beyond our ability to conprehend; another form of life perhaps.....ie God is an alien!! Mwhaaahahhaaha let hellfire and brimstone come my way! lol

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Heart

    @ jake

    You can shoot holes in lots of Biblical stories. Try: "don't get married because Jesus is coming", "women cover your head and don't speak your mind", "long hair on a man is a disgrace"....all in the NT

    "A scientist would relish the thought of finding a major flaw in the general scientific consensus."

    and thinking about it would be about all he/she could relish. Try telling people what they don't want to hear! Just ask a Quantum Physicist * or indeed, Jesus.....

    Dogma is everywhere. Human beings are naturally conservative.

    Truth is an uphill struggle against fear, for the scientist as much as the priest. And you need a bit of Faith in something to keep you going!

    IMHO, the Bible and it's stories can be distorted, dissected, disregarded, augmented, translated, questioned, etc, etc. and after all this time, still emerge as something greater than the sum of it's parts. It stands as one of the greatest acheivements of mankind for many reasons, as well as a scapegoat for some of our more atrocious activities.

    * A quantum physicist is one who is either working OR thinking, but you can't know which, or he dies in a box , or something

  77. Sweep

    @ tfagan

    OK, I’ll bite.

    “There are limits to the variation within a species.”

    Depends on what your definition of a species is. For instance, if two separate populations of the same species diverge enough, through breeding as you put it, that they are no longer able to interbreed viably, either through changes in behavior or morphology, then by most definitions they have evolved into two separate species. There are of course limits to the variation within a species, as once individuals are varied enough you no longer have a single species.

    “there has never been an example of breeding from one species into another in the history of the world. (I am sure the wise crackers will say otherwise.)”

    Did god tell you this?

    “So macro-evolution is just an unproven theory, an idea, without any known proof whatsoever.”

    Evolution (macro or otherwise) is indeed a Scientific Theory, in that it fits all the known observable facts and has not been disproved. A Scientific Theory can never be proved exactly, only disproved. This is the basis of the scientific method. Do you believe in gravity?

    “I guess we are debating an idea that has no natural scientific credibility when we talk about Darwin’s Evolution or other faith based theologies.”

    Evolution is not a theology, nor is it based on faith, it is based upon observed facts and testable hypotheses.

    “What about Intelligent Design? Are we dealing with faith or are we dealing with scientific methods to determine if Intelligent Design has merit.”

    You are dealing with faith and taking on faith a literal reading of the bible. A book which doesn’t even agree with itself on how life was created.

    “Based on the evidence therein derived ID is a proposed theory showing that mutations and survival of the fittest can not explain how life began. ID shows us that spontaneous helpful mutations in the thousands is not possible. Thus, Evolution can not account for the generation of new species.”

    Again, we come back to the God of Gaps. Looking at gaps, or perceived gaps (through a lack of understanding or wishful thinking) in the understanding of the mechanisms of natural selection, throwing your hands in the air and shouting “Eureka!” God must have done it. As others have noted above, evolution/natural selection makes no attempts to explain the origin of life, only the origin of species. And what exactly is a “helpful” mutation? The vast majority of mutations are detrimental to the organism, it is only a very few that turn out to be beneficial to any given organism.

    Anyone who claims evolutionary theory to be unscientific while claiming that ID is a proper scientific theory deserves a severe spanging.

  78. A J Stiles
    Flame

    @ tfagott

    Do you have to work hard at being such a dick, or does it come naturally?

    "Just to be clear Micro-evolution (breeding or variation within a species) has been shown to be controlled by the genes which is found in the DNA chain. There are limits to the variation within a species. For example, a cat can never be as large as a blue whale as the result of breeding. Of course, there has never been an example of breeding from one species into another in the history of the world. (I am sure the wise crackers will say otherwise.)"

    That's right. Because, moving one centimetre at a time, you could never, ever travel a whole kilometre. (In case you have difficulty understanding the measurements used in the rest of the world: moving about two-fifths of an inch at a time, you could never travel a whole about five-eights of a mile.)

    It's not conveyed in the typing, but I can just tell that your voice rose a semitone as you were saying this. You are merely grasping at straws. You can no longer deny that organisms do change from generation to generation; so in order to deny the possibility that evolution by common descent could account for biodiversity, you are forced to resort to pretending that there is a limit to just how many tiny changes can build up.

    All anyone would have to do, to falsify evolution by common descent, is determine where the line is that cannot be crossed by simple accumulation of mutations. Shove your probability and information theory up your arse, just show us where that limit is, what the stark dividing line is between created kinds that cannot be crossed by a build-up of small changes. If you can find that limit, there's a Nobel prize in it for you. But who's researching that limit? Nobody, lest it turn out to be Creationism's Arago Spot.

    "What about Intelligent Design? Are we dealing with faith or are we dealing with scientific methods to determine if Intelligent Design has merit. ID deals with Information theory, Probability theory and Biology. ID is delving into the living cells of animals and plants. ID Considers DNA, RNA, amino acids, proteins, genes, all the molecular machines and instruments contained in the living cell. Based on the evidence therein derived ID is a proposed theory showing that mutations and survival of the fittest can not explain how life began."

    Evolution has nothing to do with how life began. Evolution assumes the existence of some primitive life-forms as a given. Inefficient, imperfect reproduction (demonstrable) and environmental attrition (also demonstrable) take care of the rest.

    Intelligent Design lacks any scientific merit whatsoever, because it contradicts itself.

    "ID shows us that spontaneous helpful mutations in the thousands is not possible. Thus, Evolution can not account for the generation of new species. ID is as credible as Evolution and in my opinion ID is a better theory than Evolution for how life began and has prospered. ID does in fact account for the generation of new species."

    ID cannot, however, account for the existence of the Intelligent Designer in the first place. Fine, so we'll assume the existence of the complex Intelligent Designer as a given -- after all, evolution requires some primitive life-forms a a given. But this is still a much more improbable assumption than a few primitive life-forms (which we're a matter of years away from creating in the laboratory, and then we'll be able to watch them evolving; and we'll also be able, a few generations down the line, to repeat the original exercise, re-creating the originals, and find that the latest generation are unable to breed with them -- in other words, show that a new species has arisen by evolution).

    Moreover, the assumptions underlying ID actively preclude said Intelligent Designer from ever coming into existence! Whatever process you assume might have created a complex Designer might just as well have created the less-complex prerequisites for evolution.

    And evolution *can* account for new species, as long as there is no limit to the accumulation of mutations.

  79. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

    @Sean Kennedy

    "Sorry, AC, but there really isn't a place for God at the science table. Unless it can be tested, hence falsifiable, it's not science. And God, by most definitions, can not be falsifiable."

    This is not a matter of a place for god in science. It is the place for Science within Religion.

    I agree, God has no place in Science. BUT there is no reason why religion cannot embrace science. This is what the church is saying, and I agree completely.

  80. Jamie
    Linux

    One last point

    It is called the Theory of Evolution, not the Evolution or the Fact of Evolution.

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    ha ha

    take that, ID muppets ! how embarrasing !

  82. Toastan Buttar
    Linux

    Re: Evolutionary Hard Times by tfagan

    "Of course, there has never been an example of breeding from one species into another in the history of the world. (I am sure the wise crackers will say otherwise.)"

    I see what you did there - pre-emptively state that anyone who disagrees with you is a wise-cracker.

    Anyhow, it'd do you a lot of good to read the entire talkorigins.org site (particularly the feedback archives), but the must-read article for you is

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html

    There have been plenty observations of one species turning into another (yes, inside a human lifetime - not relying on historical evidence). Take that fact on board, mull it over for a while and then, armed with your new found scientific knowledge, take another look at how well ID stands up as a theory.

    You might want to read some of the articles about Michael Behe, too.

    I, in turn, will have a look at the credentials of the people who maintain the talkorigins.org website and see if they are in fact just a bunch of wise-crackers.

    Tux, because penguins evolved from dinosaurs.

  83. Pavlovs well trained dog

    who gives a fuck

    what the vatican thinks?

    Surely no-one who hasn't had a frontal lobotomy (either real, or via the Religion Implant Method) doesn't consider the churches to be at best: irrelevant, and more realistically: an unfortunate source of social evil

  84. ElFatbob

    erm..

    'like the christians, the egyptians came up with a story to attempt to explain it all because they simply didn't have the means to prove otherwise.'

    The Christians didn't come up with anything. Creation is recorded in Genesis - a book in the (Jewish) Torah, which now forms part of what we would recognise as the Old Testament.

  85. Paul Murphy

    Who does God believe in I wonder

    Entirely hypothetical of course, since fictional characters can't believe in anything.

    I also wonder what the Vaticans views on scientology are, even 'cultural phenomena' would be too kind.

    ttfn

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Adrian Barnett - Abiogenesis; @BioTube - re

    "But, of course, there is still no need to invoke the supernatural as an explanation of how it actually started up."

    Maybe, maybe not. Problem with religion (or active opposition to religion - you cannot really call Atheism a religion but many people defend and promote it as fundamentally and close mindedly as God-botherers do with their sky fairy of choice) is that it relies on faith and belief.

    RE: BioTube

    "At least we know enough not to mispronounce "-re". Even the French get that one right"

    IIRC, and I am not a language professor by a long way, The French speak French.

    English is a different language completely.

    So I think you answered my last question very clearly.

  87. Mike

    Re: Evolutionary Hard Times

    <quote>For you very bright people that say CO2 causes rising temperatures, Intelligent Design is Creationism, and over the last 150 years Evolution has been proven. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!</quote>

    In order......

    1. Rising global temperatures is in line with the amount of CO2, there is a huge amount of evidence for this (tree rings, ice cores) etc. it may be a mistake to say CO2 is a cause of warming (rather than an effect of it), but it doesn't change the evidence we can see

    2. ID is not creationism, however, ID started from the creationist camp, both rely on a supernatural being (something outside nature)

    3. Evolution has not been "proven", ah well here's the rub, how can you prove something which takes (hundreds of) thousands of years to observe? if I see footprints in the snow is this proof that someone walked in it? no, but it would be the best, most rational explanation.

    You cannot prove evolution, but the body of evidence supporting it is overwhelming, and getting larger day by day, more importantly there is no evidence to contradict it, if one species turned into another species in one generation (two cats mated and gave birth to a dog), this would present a big problem for evolution.

    As you are probably well aware there have been many, many attempts to contradict the theory of evolution, from feeble "why is the bannana so perfectly made for humans", through "how could the eye randomly appear" and on to bacterial flagella and irreducible complexity. All of which ended up supporting the theory of evolution not contradicting it.

    Lions and tigers can interbreed, which means that they are either the same type or have not diverged to such an extent that they are biologically incompatible, but they are pretty close to being incompatible often sterile or still born, it's well known that horses and donkeys produce mules (almost always sterile), these are species diverging - but we won't be able to say for sure unless we see completely incompatible animals produced, this will take (potentially) millions of years, humans can't mate with chimps because of this divergence, humans have one less pair of chromosones, but a common ancestor could be close enough to humans and chimps to mate with both, the fossil record supports this possibility - and again no evidence contradicts it.

    The footprints are in the snow, either you believe that someone walked in it or god put the footsteps there "to test our faith".

  88. Phil Hare
    Stop

    For fuck's sake people

    I'm not getting involved with this discussion as such, even though I do have pretty strong views about it, but please, please guys, look up the word "theory". Definition:

    "A well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena"

    Many of you are confusing the word "theory" with the word "hypothesis". Stop it. Just stop it.

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @BioTube

    It's "n'est pas" you dick. From the present of the verb "être", which means "to be". If you are going to pull someone up because they can't speak a language, it helps to know it yourself first . Il y a des connards partout, mais en générale on les trouve en Amérique du Nord...

  90. Eric Crippen

    @John Sinclair

    The big bang theory does not say matter came from nothing. It says that at a particular moment, matter occupied a particular volume and then expanded. The rest of your prattle falls under a poorly thought out philosophy, not science.

    I too would prefer some fabricated story that we have some higher purpose and will still be around after our body dies. Simply no proof for it and it doesn't make any sense, no matter how comforting. If main-stream religious people realized that death was final, I think (my own opinion) that people (as a whole) would really have to make a better effort to get along with each other becuase it would be in everyone's best interest. My belief may be useless drivel also, but at least its grounded.

  91. Seán

    @Turbojerry

    "Say Nazis, IRA terrorists, Spanish Inquisitors and pedos are evil, expose all in their midst and hand them over to the authorities where necessary and get rid of the Nazi Pope."

    The IRA are in fact freedom fighters and certainly have killed a lot less civilians than the english army. You really should pay more attention. Martin Luther and his chums executed over 100,000 people as "witches", Henry the 8th killed 72,000 Catholics, whereas the death toll from the Spanish Inquisition was in the hundreds and took place over the course of more than 300 years.

    Hysterical reactions to half comprehended propaganda are I'm sure very pleasurable for you but you have to stop it, it's silly and makes you look more foolish.

  92. Adrian Barnett
    Stop

    @Jamie re. "theory"

    > It is called the Theory of Evolution, not the Evolution or the Fact of Evolution.

    Yes, it is a theory, just like

    Cell theory

    Atomic theory

    Plate Tectonic theory

    Electromagnetism theory

    Acoustic theory

    So, I guess you don't accept the existence of cells, atoms, continents or electricity either?

    In science, "theory" does not mean "wild, unsupported guess dreamed up for laughs at a drunken party" like so many people seem to think.

    If only there was some sort of easily-available source of information you could use to find this out for yourself in two minutes...

  93. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Seán

    >>>>The IRA are in fact freedom fighters and certainly have killed a lot less civilians than the english army. You really should pay more attention.

    Eh? freedom from what? freedom from who? a minority (catholic, nationalist) didn't want a democratic process that meant that the majority (protestant, unionist) were targetted for violence, this wasn't an Irish vs English "war" (unlike the view of the americans who funded most of it).

    The IRA were terrorists as they did not represent the majority, more british army were killed than IRA.

    The british stole land from the irish (in about 1600) when they settled there, but things didn't really kick off until about 200 years later, were the british even british anymore? let alone another 200 years on top of that, decisions for a country should be in the hands of what the majority wants, not a minority with guns and bombs, at the end of the day we cannot be held responsible for what our ancestors did.

  94. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Jamie

    The onlt people now that refer to evolution as a theory are those that try do discredit it. Look up what theory actually means.

  95. Doug Southworth
    Thumb Down

    @ Alan Roberts

    "they didn't know where they came from or how earth was created (we now know this is because the sun formed from a disk of gas and rubble and the leftovers clumped together to form earth and the other planets in the solar system)"

    Ummm...don't you mean "we think" instead of "we know". If you read your sentence aloud, it sounds just about as crazy as saying God made it. That's my beef with both sides of the argument, neither one answers the question. Saying that everything that we see happened by random chances takes just as much faith as saying God created it. And don't start with "But science has proven it!!!" It hasn't. That's why we call these things THEORIES instead of FACTS. Maybe some day we will have all the answers, but we don't right now. BOTH sides need to back off with the childish name calling. It is getting us nowhere, and being a bigot isn't any better than being a racist.

  96. nagyeger

    @Moss Icely Spaceport

    "Please inform us all exactly which of Dawkin's arguments have flaws and what these flaws might be. I am most interested to know."

    I'd say his science is OK, but he makes some really silly claims once he leaves his area of expertise. I've heard him laying one powerful salvo after another on things that thinking Christians (not saying there aren't a whole heap of unthinking ones out there) don't actually hold to, and then claiming total victory in the name of atheism. Lots of straw-man type arguments, which just go to prove to each side of the debate that they're right.

    I like the quote half way down this page: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/5721 (look for the paragraph starting Eagleton. then go up a few lines for context). For more detailed arguments, see e.g.: A.McGrath, "Has Science Eliminated God" in Science and Christian Belief 17(2) pp115-136 2005 (ISSN 0954-4194)

  97. jake Silver badge

    @AC

    "It stands as one of the greatest acheivements of mankind for many reasons"

    Which of the various volumes of books, translated into various languages, and containing various additions and subtractions, are we discussing? Please be specific, I want to read this "greatest acheivement" for myself. BTW, isn't it I before E, and etc.? Except possibly in Koine Greek, or Aramaic, of course ...

    "as well as a scapegoat for some of our more atrocious activities."

    Not a scapegoat. Rather an excuse. Organized religion is the root of all evil. The bible is merely one of the tools that the clergy use to keep their flocks of sheeple mesmerized into an us vs. them state.

    "* A quantum physicist is one who is either working OR thinking, but you can't know which, or he dies in a box , or something"

    I can see why you posted AC ...

  98. Seán

    @AC

    Well done everything you wrote was incorrect. You really should differentiate between government propaganda and historical fact.

    Do you also think the happy english gave the lazy blacks a free lift to America where they were provided with jobs and new names. After a while they were just so lazy that they were allowed to quit work and took to selling drugs and being imprisoned as their favourite new hobby. That must surely be the reason 25% of black males are imprisoned, these radical notions of poverty and racism are just liberal nonsense.

    So why in your imagination did ordinary men and women feel compelled to take up arms against the english army? It wasn't paintball or halflife2. The english had a shoot to kill policy in place even if targets were unarmed and had surrendered. Torture was used, official police documents were handed directly to loyalist murder squads. Loyalists provided with grenades and guns by the police.

    The population of Ireland is 4 million and the majority do want and will have a reunited Ireland.

    Look up the Penal laws (Ireland) for some more hilarious background details.

  99. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    @Seán

    >>>>So why in your imagination did ordinary men and women feel compelled to take up arms against the english army?

    Actually, (you nugget) the border campaign of the 1950's was first fought against Northern Ireland (of course this was pointless and petered out), but sectarian tensions increased untill the riots of 1969, after which the british sent in troops, the violence was there before the british troops.

    All of the things you say about the british and loyalists are broadly accurate, but lets not forget the brutality of the PIRA, the extortion used to get money for weapons, the drug trade, the loan sharks, and what now, when we have peace? how many PIRA members have been selling their terrorist skills abroad? the same technology developed by american IRA funding is now killing american troops in Iraq, irony maybe, funny not.

  100. alan fleming

    Evolve-illusion (Evolution)

    Is evolution really scientific?

    The “scientific method” is as follows: Observe what happens; based on those observations, form a theory as to what may be true; test the theory by further observations and by experiments; and watch to see if the predictions based on the theory are fulfilled. Is this the method followed by those who believe in and teach evolution?

    Ironically, Christendom, including the Catholic religion is largely responsible for evolution. Her bloody wars, interference in government and social issues, moral corruption, greed, and intolerance, has driven millions away from belief in God.

    With all the scientific discovery today, particularly in the area of micro biology, DARWIN would, were he alive today, believe in a Creator.

  101. Moss Icely Spaceport
    Boffin

    @nagyeger

    Sorry, you have been unable to qualify your argument sufficiently.

    You must learn to back up your claims with hard evidence.

    There will always be a healthy (unhealthy?) percentage of people who will firmly believe the god-myths. After all, it’s in our nature as children to wonder and imagine. However we can go far beyond that as adults.

    Our understanding of science will progress, some people will change their mind about omnipotent beings, others will not.

    I for one am delighted to have lived in such times, even if 200 years after the great man himself. I am extremely comfortable with evolution as science. I can read the facts and I can try and comprehend it in its entirety. Science is more than any 'god'.

    A well-meaning or dictatorial god is not necessary for life, progress or enjoyment. In fact, quite the opposite is found. Without the god-hypothesis, life takes on real meaning!

    Ahhh, science, real science, try it some time.

    You know it makes sense.

  102. A J Stiles
    Flame

    @ alan fleming

    'The “scientific method” is as follows: Observe what happens; based on those observations, form a theory as to what may be true; test the theory by further observations and by experiments; and watch to see if the predictions based on the theory are fulfilled. Is this the method followed by those who believe in and teach evolution?'

    Yes, exactly.

  103. jake Silver badge

    @alan fleming

    "DARWIN would, were he alive today, believe in a Creator."

    Darwin DID believe in a creator ... In fact, at Cambridge he studied to become an Anglican clergyman. It wasn't until he opened his eyes to the reality of the natural world around him that he started questioning his religious background ... Have you ever even bothered to read "Origin of Species", or are you parroting the words of others?

    And then there is the question of Alfred Russel Wallace, who independently came up with a natural selection theory similar to Darwin's ... He was a Darwin contemporary who DID NOT believe in a creator. Why don't the religious wingnuts badmouth him, instead?

    Why is it that the creation myth believers refuse to read up on ANYTHING (including their own "good book"), but instead believe whatever the clergy shovel at them?

    Daft questions, I know ... The answers are obvious to anyone who is capable of rational thought.

  104. Steve

    @ jake

    "Which of the various volumes of books, translated into various languages, and containing various additions and subtractions, are we discussing? Please be specific, I want to read this "greatest acheivement" for myself. BTW, isn't it I before E, and etc.? Except possibly in Koine Greek, or Aramaic, of course ..."

    Gosh you really have the big clevers. Try reading the post, maybe following with your finger, specifically the sentence before the one you commented on.

    My point was attempting to convey the idea that the Bible has been underpinning human development for a little less than 2000 years. In that time, no amount of mistranslation or Machiavellianistic meddling on the part of our early chuch leaders* has affected the fundamental messages that are the bloody guts of this great work. It matters not a jot whether Adam used a fig leaf or a banana leaf, or if he was really called Alan. The value of the words remains in spite of humanity's best and worst efforts to enhance or suppress them.

    Your pedantic nit-picking of my comment is akin to what the Bible has had to endure it's whole life. (follow the shoe! No, follow the Gourd!) The Bible's purpose is to communicate values, ideas and (rather profound) philosophies. It is neither a cryptic crossword puzzle nor an affadavit to be scrutinized.

    Those that have eyes to see, will see. Those that prefer pedantry to communication end up feeling smug, but lonely.

    Not anonymous this time because, well, fuck you.

    *definition of a priest: A begger who can show another begger where to find bread.

  105. P. Lee Silver badge
    Boffin

    What has the papacy to do with creationism?

    They've got someone who stands in the place of Christ and apparently let us know that God has changed His mind. Check out their teaching on the move to worshiping on Sunday instead of Saturday.

    Catholicism is a very broad church, but with all the dead people you can pray to, images, pomp, wielding of civil power and a human who sits in the place of God, it bears very little resemblance to anything described in the Bible. Well, not until you get to Revelation, but that's another story...

    In fact many creationists do actually believe in evolution, but not in a single common ancestor. There can be plenty of evolution, but only within a "kind". You'll only get a cat from a cat, but it may be a lion or a household moggy.

    Science does not need to be incompatible with God. There is nothing inherently anti-God in experimentation and observation of the natural order. You can even define science as the experimentation and observation of the natural rather than supernatural, and still not end up as anti-God. The conflict between "science" and God comes when you decide beforehand that God does not exist and then theorise on that basis. This is a philosophical choice above all else. It is also a financial choice because public funding for anything which might lead to the inference that there is a God, is banned well before any science has taken place. Of course, when the State takes upon itself to make education compulsory but then excludes not just the study of God, but anything which may infer God's existence, any theory which can meet that criteria will have to be accepted and is likely to become dominant.

    If you want a less nutty creationist viewpoint, have a gander at http://creationontheweb.com/content/view/21

    This is the internet of course so the Nazis get a mention, but hey, Creationists talking about Nazis - what more could you want for entertainment?

  106. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Steve

    "Not anonymous this time because, well, fuck you" - Very christian... Twunt.

  107. Steve

    @ Mac Phreak

    Was that the only sentence you understood? silly cat

  108. Jamie
    Linux

    @Adrian Barnet

    I stated it is a Theory, which it is.

    It was classified as fact a little while ago in the history of the planet that the heavenly bodies revolved around us.

    In even less time it was stated as fact that the earth was flat.

    It has also been stated that atoms are the smallest particles.

    These have all been proven wrong with what we know now.

    So why don't you read a book and do the intelligent thing and use it to base an opinion on rather than take what you read as absolute fact.

    No scientist worth anything would state something is fact because unlike you they are educated enough to know that the theory only currently stands due to our limited knowledge.

  109. JEAN

    N/A

    The Vatican did not "slight" Intelligent Design. It simply said it would discuss it along with evolution at the next meeting. A discussion of Intelligent Design is really not needed, as the existence of God is a crux of the religion.

    There was nothing. Then there was a Big Bang, and a universe came into existence, complete with everything needed for everything that is. DNA code has been compared to computer code, except that DNA is much more complex. This needed a Designer. To absolutely state there is no God, implies a haughty pride, unwilling to admit a superior Being.

    It has been said, "The greatest sadness of man is that he is not God."

  110. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Organised religion is a lie

    If we believe that "GOD" created us and passed us a message why do we require people to interpret his message for us?

    Any thing that is so ostentatious that is cannot be understood by the meanest intelligence is not aimed at benefiting the individual but rather controlling them.

    Evolution is so simple a message that even those that parrot "Survival of the fittest" ( Not Darwin ) have a clearer understanding of Evolution than most "believers" have of "Do unto others".

  111. Jamie
    Linux

    @Mac Phreak

    Definition of Theory as seen on Dictionary.com website.

    ****************************************************************************

    the⋅o⋅ry

    /ˈθiəri, ˈθɪəri/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [thee-uh-ree, theer-ee] Show IPA Pronunciation

    –noun, plural -ries.

    1. a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena: Einstein's theory of relativity.

    2. a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.

    3. Mathematics. a body of principles, theorems, or the like, belonging to one subject: number theory.

    4. the branch of a science or art that deals with its principles or methods, as distinguished from its practice: music theory.

    5. a particular conception or view of something to be done or of the method of doing it; a system of rules or principles.

    6. contemplation or speculation.

    7. guess or conjecture.

    ***************************************************************************************

    the·o·ry (thē'ə-rē, thîr'ē) Pronunciation Key

    n. pl. the·o·ries

    1. A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.

    2. The branch of a science or art consisting of its explanatory statements, accepted principles, and methods of analysis, as opposed to practice: a fine musician who had never studied theory.

    3. A set of theorems that constitute a systematic view of a branch of mathematics.

    4. Abstract reasoning; speculation: a decision based on experience rather than theory.

    5. A belief or principle that guides action or assists comprehension or judgment: staked out the house on the theory that criminals usually return to the scene of the crime.

    6. An assumption based on limited information or knowledge; a conjecture.

    ******************************************************************************************

    Theory

    The"o*ry\, n.; pl. Theories. [F. th['e]orie, L. theoria, Gr. ? a beholding, spectacle, contemplation, speculation, fr. ? a spectator, ? to see, view. See Theater.]

    1. A doctrine, or scheme of things, which terminates in speculation or contemplation, without a view to practice; hypothesis; speculation.

    Note: "This word is employed by English writers in a very loose and improper sense. It is with them usually convertible into hypothesis, and hypothesis is commonly used as another term for conjecture. The terms theory and theoretical are properly used in opposition to the terms practice and practical. In this sense, they were exclusively employed by the ancients; and in this sense, they are almost exclusively employed by the Continental philosophers." --Sir W. Hamilton.

    2. An exposition of the general or abstract principles of any science; as, the theory of music.

    3. The science, as distinguished from the art; as, the theory and practice of medicine.

    4. The philosophical explanation of phenomena, either physical or moral; as, Lavoisier's theory of combustion; Adam Smith's theory of moral sentiments.

    Atomic theory, Binary theory, etc. See under Atomic, Binary, etc.

    Syn: Hypothesis, speculation.

    Usage: Theory, Hypothesis. A theory is a scheme of the relations subsisting between the parts of a systematic whole; an hypothesis is a tentative conjecture respecting a cause of phenomena.

  112. Eric Crippen

    @P.Lee

    "In fact many creationists do actually believe in evolution, but not in a single common ancestor. There can be plenty of evolution, but only within a "kind".

    Then you really don't believe in evolution, just what supports your religious beliefs. Evolution isn't a buffet where you get to pick and choose what fits your particular beliefs.

    That's the nice thing about science. It has to change to fit reality, even if it does take a while. Unless you worship the old gods, then they typically don't change or learn from mistakes. Seems to me that monotheism took a step back with this. That's why I never see it as a progression in religion when it's more like a simplistic regression.

    Unfortunately, public funding does go to religious crackpot psuedoscience (in the U.S.) in the form of legal battles to show that it's not science (see Kitzmiller vs. Dover public schools).

    Science is not pro/anti anything. It just is.

    It's not a problem of science being incompatible with a god(s), it's a god(s) being incompatible with science.

    I really haven't seen any science hypothesis or theory that states there isn't a god(s) in any of my math, chemistry or physics classes that I took while in college. Can you point some out for me (you know, people like Plank, Einstein, Curie...)?

    As for schools teaching about god(s). That belongs in a religious studies or philosophy class, NOT A SCIENCE CLASS!

    I may be an atheist, but the catholic church was the first christian cult to become a religion, mainly by wiping out the competition but also because intellectual christian pursuit didn't work with the masses. That would pretty much mean that the catholic church does have a say in what christians believe. You don't seem to approve of this version (given your comments), so which version of god(s) do you want in science and schools???

  113. jsp
    Boffin

    @P Lee

    "There can be plenty of evolution, but only within a "kind". You'll only get a cat from a cat, but it may be a lion or a household moggy."

    This is meaningless.

    Domestic cats and lions are separate species. If you accept that they both came from a common cat-like ancestor then you support the concept of speciation. If you just try and move the boundaries by substituting "kind" for "species" then this is just another "god of the gaps" argument.

    So how do you define "kind"?

    Are all mice one "kind" and hence evolved from a single mouse ancestor?

    Or are all rodents of one "kind" and derived from a single rodent ancestor?

    Or are all mammals one "kind" and evolved from a single mammalian ancestor?

    Or all animals?

    Or all life?

  114. jsp
    Boffin

    @Jamie re. "theory"

    "It is called the Theory of Evolution, not the Evolution or the Fact of Evolution."

    This demstrates sameful ignorance of what the word "theory" means, as others have pointed out. If you are this ignorant, supid or dishonest, why should we listen to your opinion?

    Here is an analogy:

    Gravity <=> Evolution

    i.e. it exists: people "beileved in" (knew about) the fact of evolution before Darwin. He didn't "invent" it, or even discover it; he simply came up with the best explanation for the mechanisms behind it. So, in a sense:

    Newtorn <=> Darwin

    i.e. the theory is incomplete because, for example, Newton didn't know about relativistic effects and Darwin didn't know about genes. So:

    Einstein <=> Darwin + Mendel

    i.e. as more is discovereed about the natural world (by observation, measurement and experiment) we understand the underlying mechanisms better. What can you measure: the weight of your bible, perhaps?

    Of colurse, there are still problems with the theory of relativity (it is only a theory, after all) and our current understanding of evolution. But in the same way that further developments in physics will have to accept that (a) gravity exists (b) Newtonian and Einsteinian physics works; any extensions to current theories of evolution will have to account for the fact that evolution occurs and extend what we currently understand.

  115. jsp
    Boffin

    @tfagan

    "a cat can never be as large as a blue whale"

    And the proof for that assertion is? What is the limit on the size of a cat? Can it be as large as, say, a tiger? I assume you think it can't be any bigger because there are no cats the size of a horse.

    "macro-evolution is just an unproven theory, an idea, without any known proof whatsoever."

    I think you meant "hypothesis" not "theory". But you would still be wrong. As wrong as you are ignorant.

    Of course, the concept of "species" is rather fuzzy, being a man-made category. There is no clear definition of species, variety, sub-species, etc. Even the ability to interbreed (viably) isn't definitive. This is just one reason why your arbitrary distinction between micro and macro-evolution is bogus.

    If your creationism or ID was a scientific hypothesis, then just a single counter-example would falsify it. A few links to examples of speciation below. Of course there are loads more in the fossil records but presumably you don't believe in fossils.

    http://northernlightsonline.blogspot.com/2006/06/example-of-speciation-cichlid.html

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/VC1fEvidenceSpeciation.shtml

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/speciation.html

    http://biomed.brown.edu/Courses/BIO48/23.Cases.HTML

  116. Winkypop Silver badge
    Boffin

    When was the last time you heard.....

    .....an atheist threaten to harm or kill someone who *does* believe in a god?

    On the contrary, plenty of god-botherers (read: all religions) do the opposite!

    Odd isn't it.?

  117. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Don't make me laugh

    "ok, we'll go along with a valid scientific hypothesis", said the Pope today," ...but then we'll go along with just about anything.". He continued by noting, "We are always going to remain firm in our worship of the virgin who give birth, the undead being who is going to save you and the bloke who made the world when he was bored one day."

  118. jake Silver badge

    @Steve/AC

    "Gosh you really have the big clevers."

    How old are you Steve/AC? 14? 16?

    "Try reading the post, maybe following with your finger, specifically the sentence before the one you commented on."

    I did. However, since you ask, you wrote:

    "IMHO, the Bible and it's stories can be distorted, dissected, disregarded, augmented, translated, questioned, etc, etc. and after all this time, still emerge as something greater than the sum of it's parts."

    You can get the same "insight" out of your average Sunday newspaper. It all depends on how you decide to read it ... or more likely in your case, are told to understand it.

    Then you added:

    "It stands as one of the greatest acheivements of mankind for many reasons"

    To which I asked which particular edition of this great work you subscribe to. You decline to state. Ashamed?

    "as well as a scapegoat for some of our more atrocious activities."

    My comments above stand unrefuted, so no need to repeat them.

    "My point was attempting to convey the idea that the Bible has been underpinning human development for a little less than 2000 years."

    Actually, the OT is quite a bit older than 2,000 years, but I'll agree to "about 2,000 years" for the sake of argument.

    For most of that ~2,000 years it was a tool of suppression, torture, and vilification. Including today ... I suggest you study the history of christianity, might start with the Councils of Nicaea, the Dark Ages, the Crusades, followed by the reasons behind the reformation. Might want to take a quick gander at the suppression of Arab influences in science during the time frame, while you are at it. Maybe ask yourself "What would Galileo do?"

    "In that time, no amount of mistranslation or Machiavellianistic meddling on the part of our early chuch leaders* has affected the fundamental messages that are the bloody guts of this great work. It matters not a jot whether Adam used a fig leaf or a banana leaf, or if he was really called Alan. The value of the words remains in spite of humanity's best and worst efforts to enhance or suppress them."

    I don't need a random collection of codicies and palimpsests to help me with my ethics and ethos. You apparently do. Who am I to argue? Follow your bliss ... But try to open your mind to the reality that your God may (or may not) have manufactured this place specifically for your mind to try to understand it. You'll feel a right silly bastard if, in the afterlife (assuming), you are consigned to purgatory (or worse) because you aren't open to the wonders of the Universe.

    Also consider that thanks to the many gods and goddesses that Man has invented^Wdiscovered^Wcome in contact with^W^W^W^Wwhatever, the chances of you actually worshiping THE Gawd/ess that created this dampish rock we live on are slim-to-nil ... I suspect that the god of the OT would be really, really pissed if you are worshiping the God of the NT, if they are, in fact, different $ENTITIES ... and what Cali might have to say when you slip your mortal coil doesn't bear thinking about. Probably better to say "I dunno" now, in life, and beg forgiveness when you get to the other side, no?

    "Your pedantic nit-picking of my comment is akin to what the Bible has had to endure it's whole life. (follow the shoe! No, follow the Gourd!)"

    Reductio ad absurdum? You really are young, aren't you? ... Pardon if I don't bite.

    "The Bible's purpose is to communicate values, ideas and (rather profound) philosophies."

    No, it is not. It was designed by a group of power hungry men, in order to help subjugate various groups of pagans, back at the beginning of what became the dark ages. In fact, a strong case could be made for the bible (and it's derivatives) being a major tool in the hands of the folks who caused the dark ages. Some would say various folks are STILL trying to use it to leverage the status quo of the ignorance of the Great Unwashed (cf. Kansas School Board, et alii).

    "It is neither a cryptic crossword puzzle nor an affadavit to be scrutinized."

    I never said it was a game, although discussing it can be. It's not me that thinks it's a legal document like an affidavit ... Do you know what "Projection" is, Steve/AC?

    "Those that have eyes to see, will see."

    Indeed :-) Mine are wide open to the wonders of the universe ... Yourself?

    "Those that prefer pedantry to communication end up feeling smug, but lonely."

    Thus your reply ... I do feel sorry for you, Steve/AC.

    "Not anonymous this time because, well, fuck you."

    And now ad hominem? Very nice, Steve/AC. Say it again, if it makes you feel better. (That's called "turning the other cheek", BTW ... something I've noticed that very few bible-thumpers are actually capable of ...).

    "*definition of a priest: A begger who can show another begger where to find bread."

    I very much prefer "a beggar who plans to steal from other beggars", see for example various "christian" ministries in the third world and parts of Latin & South America who demand alms^Wofferings and sometimes even tithes from their flocks.

  119. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Steve

    No. After your dogmatic, puerile diatribe, it's the only thing that stood out. <sarcasm>How could people as lowly as evolutionists/atheists ever match you morally superior knowledge?</sarcasm> What ever happened to turning the other cheek, which your moral guide (I take it you need one because you're too stupid to work it out for yourself) tells you to do. This is exactly why you delusional idiots should be locked up. These kinds of psychosis are a social problem that have been ignored for too long. Rather than getting angry, I feel sorry for you, knowing that there is no help for people with your condition. Even reason doesn't work...

  120. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Steve

    Good. Now rather than just copy and pasting that information, divulge it. Apply it. There you go! Are not the writings in revelations just theory/hypothesis? Unreasoned ones at that? There's a theory that the Easter bunny doesn't exist, and neither does Father Christmas, but how else do Easter eggs and christmas presents get there? (I use both those festivals knowing you will try and point out the irony. The truth is both were hijacked pagan festivals). Try and understand that whilst Evolution is still consider theory by those in the religious community, he scientific one sees it as the most likely explanation and as it has been widely accepted as fact, it's on of the cornerstones of medical, biological and zoological research.

  121. Jamie
    Linux

    @jsp

    First of all you apparently cannot spell or grasp the basic aspects of grammar.

    Second, it is a true sign of low intelligence when you attack the person rather than the argument.

    As for the things you are stating as fact if you read my post you would notice that I have stated that they are all theories. So throwing more theories into the pot and stating they are fact does not help shore up your arguments.

    With our current limits of knowledge on the Universe and our surroundings you cannot state what we currently know as fact. This is why all scientists class these options as theories, as they do understand the findings are based on our current limitations.

    One last point to remember is that the purpose of higher education is not to let you read books and regurgitate the subject but to understand and think for yourself.

  122. Wayland Sothcott Bronze badge
    Boffin

    Survival of the Fittest

    It makes a lot of sence, it's like leaving things to market forces.

    Although, I can't help seeing the hand of someone meddling in both evolution and the market.

  123. jake Silver badge

    Revelations

    "Are not the writings in revelations just theory/hypothesis?"

    No. Revelations is probably the syphilitic ravings of John the Apostle, describing what's going on outside his jail cell on Patmos. Read it in that context, you'll understand what I mean.

    I am NOT an Xtian, but I have studied the bible. In several languages.

  124. jsp
    Stop

    @Jamie

    Sigh. What a pointless discussion.

    >First of all you apparently cannot spell or grasp the basic aspects of grammar.

    > Second, it is a true sign of low intelligence when you attack the person rather than the argument.

    You don't see the irony in these two statements? Anyway, I wasn't attacking the person; I was simply questioning your misuse of the word theory (see below) and the possible reasons for it.

    And, oh dear, there was a typo and I used some abbreviated sentences; therefore nothing I say is valid... I just went back and re-read your very first comment on this page. And guess what, it has some spelling and grammatical errors (which don't seem very relevant to me).

    > As for the things you are stating as fact if you read my post you would notice that I have stated that they are all theories. So throwing more theories into the pot and stating they are fact does not help shore up your arguments.

    But you are the one who doesn't have a clear grasp on the relationship between facts and theory. All these theories are based on the observation and measurement of actual physical events or changes. These latter are the only things I labelled facts.

    To take one of yours, the planets *do* move in the sky - observable and measurable fact. One theory was that they moved around the earth in perfect circles. As more detailed observations were made this became untenable and the current theory is that we all move around the sun. This fits the observed facts so well that it is unlikely to be overturned.

    I'm not sure anyone ever seriously believed the earth was flat - and there is no evidence that would support such a hypothesis anyway (despite those jokers at the flat earth society).

    Similarly, gravity (or its effects) is an observable fact (apples actually fall from trees, we don't just theorise that they do). Newton and then Einstein came up with improved theories to explain gravity. Relativity isn't perfect and so we will probably more theoretical advances in this area.

    Finally, evolution is seen to happen. Darwin came up with a better theory for how it happened. Older theories (e.g. Lamark) fell by the wayside because they didn't fit the observed facts well enough. Clearly, we still have a huge amount more to learn and understand - particularly about the way genetic and epigenetic factors are involved in evolution - but it currently looks unlikely that the central idea of natural selection will be overthrown. Rather it will be built on and refined (as has happened with Newtonian physics).

    If ID or creationism could come up with a testable hypothesis then we could see how well these theories fit the observed facts. Just saying "it must be true because it says so in my book" or "wow, the world is just so amazing it must have been made by God" just won't wash.

    > One last point to remember is that the purpose of higher education is not to let you read books and regurgitate the subject but to understand and think for yourself.

    Weirdly, we seem to be on the same side... After all, you wouldn't want someone to read the bible (or creationist/ID literature) and then ignore what can be seen going on in the real world, would you?

    Me are sure there will be sum more spillung and grammer errrers in hear but i cant be bothered to korrect they.

  125. Jamie
    Linux

    @jsp

    thanx for the discussion.

    hehehehe

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